Gen. Haftar refuses to work with Libya’s unity government

by WorldTribune Staff, May 22, 2016

The commander of Libya’s military in the east said the unity government’s reliance on militias is “unthinkable” and he refuses to work with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Fayaz Sarraj arrived in Tripoli in late March to head up the unity government and is still trying to establish its authority.

Gen. Khalifa Haftar. /Reuters
Gen. Khalifa Haftar. /Reuters

“Firstly, We have no links with Mr. Sarraj and the Presidential Council which he leads is not recognized by the parliament [in the east],” Gen. Khalifa Haftar told i-Tele news channel on May 20.

“Secondly, on this unified command center, I would like to stress that Mr. Sarraj relies on militia and we refuse them. An army cannot unify with militias so they must be dismantled. It’s unthinkable to work with these armed factions.”

Haftar leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), but his role in any national military force as a possible defense minister or army chief has become one of the most divisive problems in unifying the two sides.

Both eastern and western factions have sent separate armored columns towards Sirte, which is controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

“Daesh (ISIL) does not have the capacity to face the Libyan armed forces, but the battle could take time,” Haftar said. “If the international community supports us, and I ask it to do so by lifting the embargo on weapons, then we could eliminate Daesh in Libya definitively and quickly.”

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