LNA insists on militias dismantling, clashes resume

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Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 12:46 GMT

Members of the the Libyan internationally recognised government forces take position during the fighting with the Eastern forces in Ain Zara, in Tripoli, Libya April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Members of the the Libyan internationally recognised government forces take position during the fighting with the Eastern forces in Ain Zara, in Tripoli, Libya April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

CAIRO - 14 January 2020: The Libyan foreign ministry issued a statement on Tuesday requesting the international community to fulfill its duties by pressuring GNA-affiliated militias to surrender and give up their weapons obeying the Libyan people’s will.

Anadolu Agency reported that the LNA is amassing southern Tripoli while Al Arabiya announced that clashes resumed in Salahuddin district south of Tripoli.

The Russian foreign ministry announced earlier on Tuesday that Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar left Moscow without signing a truce agreement drafted while the talks were ongoing Monday, according to TASS. The draft was signed by Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, who left for Turkey.

Haftar had requested to study the document until Tuesday morning; yet, he arrived in Benghazi without endorsing the deal.

The Russian defense ministry declared on Tuesday that Hafter is taking two days to discuss truce agreement with allies, Sputnik reported.

Military sources close to the LNA’s General Command told the media that the three reasons Haftar rejected the agreement are the absence of a timeline for dismantling militias, the presence of many loopholes, and eagerness to halt bloodshed among Libyan people.

Libyan activist Fathullah al-Fergany, who is close to LNA’s commander, told Sputnik that if no agreement is reached upon the disintegration of militias, “the ceasefire will end, the battle will continue, and the army lying two kilomters from the capital will restore the city as the militias will be forcefully driven out in all possible ways.”

In statements to press after a meeting with SriLankan counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that extremists are moving from Syria to Libya and that all parties in the North African country to face up to their responsibilities.

In the same context, Lavrov added that 90 percent of Syrian territories are held by the “legitimate government” and that the rest, mainly Idlib, are hotspots of terror activity. As extremists are gradually losing sites, they head to Libya to cause trouble, the Russian foreign minister stated.

On Monday, the talks started with a meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Turkey followed by a meeting of Haftar, Libyan Speaker Aguila Saleh and Russian representatives and another of Sarraj, Head of the GNA High Council of State Khaled al-Mishri, and Russian and Turkish representatives, Sputnik reported.

The LNA announced on Monday that it would not withdraw from the territories it had conquered in Tripoli’s outskirts, and that it is determined to free the entire Libyan soil from militias and terror groups.

A ceasefire between both parties started on Sunday; however, LNA and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh announced on the same day that militias affiliated to Tripoli-based GNA had violated the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the LNA affirmed its commitment to the ceasefire.

Last week, LNA captured Sirte and was advancing towards Misrata after entering Tripoli’s outskirts.

Saleh stated on Sunday that his country may need to request the intervention of the Egyptian Armed Forces, if a foreign intervention takes place in Libya. The Libyan Speaker made the statement while visiting Egypt’s House of Representatives as he attended the plenary session and met with the General Committee and Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel Aal.

On Wednesday, Turkey declared sending 35 soldiers to Libya claiming they would not take part in combat. Nevertheless, Libya Review publication reported on Saturday that three Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, and six others were injured. The bodies were brought to Misrata airport while the injured have received treatment at Nalut hospital near Tripoli.

In December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 militants affiliated to Turkey have been relocated to the Libyan capital from Syria and that 900-1,000 militants moved to Turkish camps to receive training.

Earlier in the same month, Turkey and the non-elected GNA signed two MoUs pertinent to military cooperation and maritime border demarcation. On Sunday, Saleh condemned in his speech in Cairo the measure because the GNA is not elected and has not got the approval of the elected House of Representatives to sign such MoUs describing the move as an act of high treason.

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