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Haftar Vows to Continue Tripoli Operation until Militias Disarm

Haftar Vows to Continue Tripoli Operation until Militias Disarm

Sunday, 26 May, 2019 - 05:00
Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar. (Getty Images)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar vowed that his forces will continue their operation in Tripoli until armed groups lay down their weapons.

Political negotiations cannot be resumed as long as the gunmen hold on to their arms, he told France’s Le Journal du Dimanche.

He explained that he had commanded his troops to march on the capital after six rounds of negotiations ended in failure.

Head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, he added, is incapable of making decisions because he is controlled by the gunmen.

“During the last round of talks, I realized that it was not him who was taking decisions,” Haftar remarked.

“Of course, the political solution is still the goal. But to get back to politics, we must first finish with militias,” Haftar told the newspaper.

The solution lies in restoring security in the capital, he added. “We do not want this war to prolong and we hope for a quick solution.”

He also offered an amnesty to fighters in Tripoli who laid down their arms, saying they would be allowed to "return home safe and sound."

Haftar also said the head of the UN mission to Libya, Ghassan Salame, was no longer impartial.

“Partition of Libya is maybe what our adversaries want. This is maybe what Ghassan Salame also wants,” he said in the harshest criticism yet of the envoy.

"Salame is making irresponsible statements," Haftar said. "He wasn't like that before, he has changed. From an impartial and honest mediator, he has become a biased one."

On April 4, Haftar launched an operation to cleanse Tripoli of criminal and terrorist militias that are affiliated with the GNA.

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