Western countries voiced concern on Thursday that tensions in Libya could slip out of control in the absence of a functioning political system, and they urged the government and rival factions to start talking.

Two-and-a-half years after the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-rich North African state is struggling to contain violence between rival forces, with Islamist militants gaining an ever-stronger grip on the south of the country.

“The situation in Libya is very worrying,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters on the margins of a conference in Rome to discuss the Libyan crisis. […]