National Army Command: A Ceasefire in Libya is Conditional on the Withdrawal of Turkish Forces

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The Libyan National Army Commander confirmed that the Al-Wefaq government suspended participation in Geneva because Al-Sarraj receives orders from Ankara and Doha.

Libyan National Army commander, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, confirmed on Friday that he is ready for a ceasefire in Libya if certain conditions are met.

He explained in an interview to the Russian Information Agency Sputnik that the conditions include the withdrawal of Turkish forces and mercenaries.

Haftar said,

“As we said earlier, our patience is running out regarding the repeated breach of the armistice by Erdogan and Al-Sarraj’s gangs and mercenaries and the failure to fulfill the pledges made in Berlin. The armed forces continually assess the situation in Tripoli and communicate with all international parties and are ready for all possibilities unless the international community and the Berlin conference countries are ready to assume their responsibilities for the Turkish occupation of our country.”

Hafter confirmed that the Libyan National Army does not oppose European Union countries patrolling the sea lines to monitor the ceasefire,

“The European Union must play its role in monitoring the flow of weapons, Syrian mercenaries and Turkish terrorists who are transported to Tripoli via Turkey, and we support the presence of European European sea patrols that prevent Turkey from continuing to transfer arms and mercenaries to Tripoli.”

The European Union recently announced its intention to monitor the arms embargo in Libya in the future through a new naval mission, scheduled to begin by the end of March.

Field Marshal Hafter said during the interview that the suspension of the Al-Wefaq government, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, from participating in the Geneva talks under the auspices of the United Nations, comes because it does not control decisions but obeys  “orders from Ankara and Doha”.

He added,

“Al-Sarraj’s government does not have power to make decisions, it is a government that is internally dependent on militias and terrorist groups and externally dependent on Turkey and Qatar. Al-Sarraj has no power, and the evidence is found in Erdogan’s statements in which he stressed the need for Al-Wefaq to withdraw from the Geneva talks.”

Turkey continues to support the Al-Sarraj government with ammunition and weapons and has recruited mercenaries from Syria to fight in efforts to repel the Libyan army’s gains, which has hampered international efforts to find a political settlement.

In response to a question regarding the fate of the political talks scheduled for February 26 in light of the government’s cessation of its participation in the Military Committee, Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter said,

“Political talks as one of the Geneva tracks are subject to the timing of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and we are open and we are positive with all tracks that can achieve peace, security and stability in Libya and support the United Nations Mission to succeed in this. “

Haftar stressed,

“The United Nations and the Security Council bear its responsibilities to stop the flow of Syrian and Turkish mercenaries and the various weapons that are transported daily to Tripoli via Turkey to the entire world without deterrence and in breach and denunciation of Erdogan and Al-Sarraj from their obligations to the Berlin Conference, and we cannot remain idle.”

Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter expressed the army’s commitment to defending the homeland, protecting the citizens and the Libyan state from the Turkish invasion and putting an end to Erdogan’s ambitions, if the Geneva talks did not succeed in achieving peace and security for the Libyan people.

The statements of the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army came in conjunction with statements by the UN envoy, Ghassan Salameh, who is trying to salvage the negotiations in the face of the blockage that floods the  Libyan scene, and he stated that his mission is “very difficult” but “not impossible.”

Salameh said in an interview with Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels that his talks with the delegations (the Libyan National Army and the Al-Wefaq government) made progress on the issue of removing battles and armed manifestations from populated areas in Libya, and they achieved a prisoner exchange agreement that was included in the agreement reached today. ”

Salameh revealed that the mechanism for imposing sanctions on those who violate the arms embargo to Libya, which was agreed upon at the Berlin conference, is now in the hands of the Security Council.

He continued that the United Nations obtained a public commitment from the countries that supply arms to Libya to to cease.  He also considered that “it is possible to gradually establish integrated mechanisms to monitor the arms embargo,” adding that estimates indicate that there are 20 million weapons in Libya.

The United Nations announced Thursday evening, the resumption of military negotiations between the parties to the conflict in Libya aimed at declaring a permanent ceasefire.

As the Libyan army continues to resist Turkish interventions and confront Ankara’s efforts to arm militias and support them with mercenaries, the Media Center of the Dignity Operations Room released a statement on their Facebook page, Thursday evening, announcing  the arrest of 13 militia elements in the axes of Tripoli, including mercenaries from Turkey.

The Libyan army began a military operation last April to liberate Tripoli from the power of the militias, which plunged the capital into chaos. And the latest Turkish interference in the escalation of tension in Tripoli increased as Ankara deliberately provided military support to the militias supporting the Al-Wefaq government by providing weapons and fighters dispatched from Syria in order to avoid losing the battle to the Libyan army forces that have besieged these militias for months.

Al Arab

Translation by Internationalist 360°