Libya's eastern government says it won't rule by force

The government in eastern Libya allied with forces attacking the capital says it does not want to rule the country by force.

Abdulhadi Lahweej, the foreign minister in the Benghazi-based government, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the campaign in Tripoli is aimed at restoring "a civil state based on institutions and human rights."

The government is allied with Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter's self-styled Libyan National Army, which controls most of eastern and southern Libya and launched an offensive in Tripoli, in the west, last month. The LNA is battling militias loosely allied with a weak U.N.-recognized government there.

Hifter's opponents view him as an aspiring strongman in the mold of Moammar Gadhafi, whose overthrow in a 2011 uprising plunged the country into chaos.