Head of Libya's national accord govt says 'determined' to control whole country

AFP , Thursday 4 Jun 2020

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Libya
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Libya's internationally recognised Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, June 4, 2020. (Reuters)

The head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, said on Thursday that his forces were "determined" to take over the entire country from his rival, military commander Khalifa Haftar.

"Our fight continues and we are determined to defeat the enemy, impose state control on the whole of the homeland and destroy all those who jeopardise the construction of a civil, democratic and modern state," Sarraj said in Ankara after meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his main supporter.

Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA) claimed Thursday it was back in full control of the capital and its suburbs after more than a year of fighting off an offensive by Libya's National Army (LNA) commander Haftar.

The oil-rich country has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. Libya has since split between the rival administrations in the east and the west.

Haftar is supported by neighbouring Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as well as Russia.

Turkey began providing military support to Government of National Accord (GNA) lead by al Serraj, in November after signing a military cooperation pact alongside a maritime demarcation deal, which gives Ankara exploration rights in the Mediterranean that Greece and others reject.

GNA forces, boosted by Turkish drones and air defences, have made a string of gains from Haftar's forces in recent months.

The United Nations has urged outside powers to respect a deal reached at a January conference in Berlin, ending foreign meddling and upholding a much-violated arms embargo.

While a January truce brokered by Turkey and Russia has been repeatedly violated, the UN said talks on a ceasefire resumed Wednesday, welcoming it as a "positive" first step.

In Ankara, Sarraj said: "We will always stay loyal to the blood of our martyrs and the sacrifices of our heroes, hence our decision not to sit at the table with the war criminal (Haftar) because he has never been a partner in the political process."

He also urged countries backing Haftar to stop doing so.

"Your bet has failed and we will sue you after you have tasted defeat at the doors of Tripoli. Leave us alone."

* This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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