UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strongman in eastern Libya, confirmed his openness to dialogue and the political process for the first time since his troops launched a military operation to seize Tripoli nearly six months ago, according to a press release issued by his media office ahead of a UN meeting on Thursday.
“At the end of the day it is necessary to have dialogue and sit down,” Haftar said in a statement issued on Wednesday night.
“We recall that we have always been advocates of peace and have strived through negotiations in which we have been engaged in the past years, to reach acceptable solutions to achieve the demands of the Libyan people in development.
But he stressed the difficulty of providing a political climate. He said that “the democratic process sought by the Libyan people was and continues to clash with the opposition of terrorist groups and armed criminal militias that control the security and economic decision in the capital Tripoli.”
On the chances of holding elections to end the division and conflict in Libya, Hifter said that “holding elections is impossible before they are eliminated (armed groups) and dismantled and collect weapons.”
He also pointed to the difficulty of any dialogue in the presence of terrorism and outlaw groups. “The dialogue that guarantees the unity of the country and the unification of its institutions, which we have confirmed and we continue, affirms that there is no room for it as long as terrorist groups and militias continue to dominate the reins of life in Tripoli,” he said.
The fighting in the south of the capital since the beginning of April is approaching its sixth month.
The fighting has caused the deaths of about 1093 dead and 5762 injured, including civilians, while the number of displaced more than 120 thousand people, according to UN agencies.
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