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Haftar Pledges to Liberate Tripoli if Geneva Talks Fail

Haftar Pledges to Liberate Tripoli if Geneva Talks Fail

Saturday, 22 February, 2020 - 10:00
UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame gestures during a meeting with southern Libyan groups in Tripoli, Libya, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Hani Amara
Cairo - Khalid Mahmoud

Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Marshal Khalifa Haftar has pledged to liberate Tripoli if the UN-sponsored talks fail. His statements come before the end of the indirect military talks resumed on Friday in Geneva with Fayez al-Sarraj-led Government of National Accord (GNA) which aim to reach a lasting ceasefire.

Addressing Russian media, Haftar said he would be ready for a ceasefire if "Syrian and Turkish mercenaries” withdraw from the country and if Turkey stops providing the GNA with arms."

He noted that any ceasefire hinges on “the implementation of several conditions.” These include the expulsion of “Syrian and Turkish mercenaries, the cessation of Turkish arms supplies to Tripoli and the liquidation of terrorist groups in Tripoli.”

Haftar also pledged to confront what he described as “Turkish invaders.”

“In case Geneva talks don’t lead to establishing peace and security in the country and mercenaries don’t return to their homelands, the armed forces will carry out their constitutional duty to defend the country from the Turkish-Ottoman invaders,” he stressed.

Haftar said that bombing the sea port of Tripoli “has nothing to do with the presence of Algeria’s foreign minister or the Military Committee’s dialogue,” pointing that it came in response to violations.

For his part, Head of the UN mission to Libya Ghassan Salame said his mission to secure a lasting ceasefire and eventually a political solution for the conflict-torn country was extremely difficult but “possible.”

According to an AFP report, Salame said “negotiations in which two senior military leaders are involved are technical, but vital,” stressing the importance of their success.

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