By Jan Ellen
ISTANBUL – On Thursday, the U.S. called for Haftar Khalifa, the self-styled head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to halt his ongoing military strikes in Libya and his attempts to invade the capital Tripoli.
Libya is fighting a battle to save it’s sovereignty and maintain the road to democracy, the United Nations has laid out by supporting the Democratic government of President Faiez Mustafa Sarraj.
New talks took place through The Libya Security Dialogue earlier this week in Washington D.C., with an eye toward bringing all parties to the table and demanding an end to the LNA-provoked violence.
U.S. officials and analysts claim Russia is interfering by backing LNA chief, Khalifa Haftar, who has been using any means available to invade Tripoli and whose self-styled LNA receives financial support from the UAE, Russia and Egypt as well as other nations – and has already left scores of civilians dead while threatening Libya’s infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Libya’s UN Envoy Ghassan Salame and German officials are consolidating international forces to attend an upcoming conference in Berlin whose primary purpose will be to seek a resolution in Libya.
On April 7, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had called for an immediate halt to all military operations in Libya, which was ignored.
Three days ago, in a joint statement, the White House and the U.S. State Department said the following: “The U.S. delegation, representing a number of government agencies, underscored support for Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s attempts to exploit the conflict against the will of the Libyan people.”
At the UN General Assembly on September 25, Libya’s President of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord, Faiez Mustafa Sarraj said Libya is facing what he expressed as “a serious crisis because of negative foreign interference.”
Sarraj commented: “It is no exaggeration to say that the stability and civilian state of Libya is a critical matter, not only for Libya but for the region and the world.” He also labeled Haftar’s repeated attempts to invade Tripoli as “desperate.”
The Libyan president said that Haftar’s ultimate goal is to “militarize the country and to block our path toward a modern civilian State.” He also sharply criticised the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for giving Haftar a platform for his hate speech and incitement to violence.
Libya’s president has accused Haftar of committing war crimes including randomly bombing civilian neighborhoods, airports, hospitals and ambulances as well as recruiting children.
So far, Haftar is ignoring the U.S. call to halt military action and the latest news out of Libya on Sunday was that Haftar had launched a series of wide-ranging operations against pro-Sarraj forces.
In the meantime, Sarraj has labeled the global response to Libya as “international silence.” He added that Libya welcomes the cooperation of international organizations to address the situation.