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UAE supports Haftar’s offensive against Tripoli ‘militias'

May 3, 2019 at 1:12 pm

UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Libya’s Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, 11 April 2017 []

The UAE said yesterday that “extremist militias” were controlling the Libyan capital which its ally Khalifa Haftar is fighting to capture from forces allied to Libya’s internationally recognised government, according to Reuters.

The UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been supporting Haftar in his assault on Tripoli which he launched early last month.

Haftar’s offensive all but wrecked UN-backed efforts for a peace deal between the rival factions to end eight years of conflict.

“Priority in Libya [is] to counter extremism/terrorism and support stability in long drawn out crisis,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a Twitter post.

“Abu Dhabi agreement offered opportunity to support the U.N.-led process. Meanwhile extremist militias continue to control capital and derail search for political solution.”

Abu Dhabi, which has voiced support for UN peace efforts, last February hosted talks between Prime Minister Fayez AL-Sarraj and Haftar, the military commander of Libya’s eastern half, where the two agreed on the need for national elections.

The assault by the Libya National Army (LNA), the biggest military confrontation in Libya since the 2011 toppling of leader Muammar Gaddafi, stalled on Tripoli’s stoutly defended southern outskirts last week. But fighting has intensified again, with both sides using artillery.

The UN report issued in June 2017 said Haftar’s forces had received aircraft and military vehicles from the UAE, which also built up an air base at Al Khadim, allowing the LNA, which is allied to a parallel government based in the eastern city of Benghazi, to gain air superiority by 2016.

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