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Tunisia calls on Haftar to end Libya fighting

Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui speaks during a joint press conference in Tunis, Tunisia on 20 February, 2017 [Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui speaks during a joint press conference in Tunis, Tunisia on 20 February, 2017 [Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khemaies Jhinaoui, has called for “an immediate ceasefire and putting an end to bloodshed in Libya”.

A statement from the Tunisian Foreign Ministry reported that Jhinaoui had spoken with General Khalifa Haftar in a phone call on Thursday, during which he stressed the need to renew the political process under the auspices of the United Nations as soon as possible. He added that a resolution to the Libyan crisis could only be found through dialogue and negotiation.

Jhinaoui highlighted “the need to work and find common ground to achieve consensus between the various parties to the ongoing conflict in [Libyan capital] Tripoli and a number of other Libyan regions”. “Thereby, mechanisms to resolve the differences between the Libyans away from armed conflict should be established,” he added.

READ: Libya’s Tripoli-based government seeks Algerian support

From his part, Haftar stressed that “he is keen on putting an end to the military action in some Libyan areas as soon as possible,” according to the statement from the Tunisian Foreign Ministry. He claimed that “his forces are fighting irregular armed parties [which are] unlawfully controlling many areas in Tripoli while being keen on preventing bloodshed and protecting the lives of civilians.”

Haftar also expressed his gratitude for the position Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has taken regarding the crisis in Libya, his tireless efforts to reach a local solution, as well as the Tunisian peoples’ support of the Libyan people.

According to the statement, the phone call is one of several communications Jhinaoui has had with the various parties to the conflict in Libya, so as to urge them to adopt self-restraint and use dialogue to put an end to the military escalation.

On Thursday, Jhinaoui had two separate phone calls with UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, and Mohamed Taher, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the internationally-acknowledged Government of National Accord, in which he stressed the need to end the fighting in Libya.

READ: Trump discusses ‘shared vision’ with Libya’s Haftar

On 4 April, retired General Khalifa Haftar launched a military operation to take control of Tripoli, provoking international condemnation. A few days after its launch, the military operation had failed to make progress on the ground as a result of the response by forces loyal to the National Accord Government.

Since 2011, Libya has struggled with conflicts over legitimacy and power, currently taking place between the Government of National Accord in Tripoli and Haftar’s forces, which dominate the east of Libya.

General Khalifa Haftar taking over Libya - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

General Khalifa Haftar taking over Libya – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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