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Tunisia president to Sarraj: ‘We fully support GNA’

April 17, 2020 at 4:21 am

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied (C) 26 November 2019 [Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian President Kais Saied announced on Wednesday that Tunisia’s position is clear in support of the legitimate Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), and that any statement contrary to that does not reflect the official Tunisian stance.

During a telephone conversation with Head of the Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj, the Tunisian president confirmed: “Any statement that contradicts the official Tunisian position cannot shake the robust and profound ties between the two brotherly countries,” according to a statement issued by Al-Sarraj’s media office.

In an earlier interview with Hannibal TV on Sunday, the Tunisian Minister of Defence Imad Al-Hazqi described the GNA forces controlling the border crossings as “militias”.

Saied reiterated Tunisia’s support for the GNA, describing it as: “The only legitimate government in Libya.”

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Libya, Tunisia’s neighbour, has been witnessing an armed conflict between the militias of retired Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the GNA armed forces over legitimacy and authority in the oil-rich country.

The Tunisian president noted: “Tunisia rejects all forms of foreign interventions in the Libyan internal affairs, as it is time for these intruders to stop meddling with the file, and leave the Libyans the opportunity to solve their problems and live in peace.”

Saied expressed his: “Confidence in the government’s ability to extend its sovereignty over the entire Libyan territory,” according to the statement.

After launching Operation Peace Storm, the GNA forces managed to liberate six cities and two strategic regions west of the capital, Tripoli, most notably Sabratha and Surman, which means that Al-Sarraj’s government currently controls the entire western coast to the Tunisian border.

Al-Sarraj affirmed: “Libyans will never forget the positive attitudes of the brothers in Tunisia.”

Law is the reference

According to a statement issued by the Tunisian presidency, Saied informed Al-Sarraj that: “Tunisia adheres to, and will continue to adhere to, legitimacy, because the law is the reference and is the basis.”

The Tunisian president reaffirmed that: “The solution can only be reached by the Libyans, in a way that translates the aspirations of the people, for they are the sole source of sovereignty, and they are free to decide their fate away from all external interferences.”

He stressed that: “Tunisian and Libyan people share the same principles and aspirations in a mutual future, where they can enjoy security and stability, and create a solid unity.”

Sarraj: ‘Negotiation time with Haftar is up’

According to the Tunisian statement, Al-Sarraj assured: “The strong relationship between Tunisia and Libya cannot be marred by any misunderstanding.”

He affirmed that: “The institutions established on the Libyan borders with Tunisia are managed by the GNA to ensure the security of Tunisians.”

The Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm on 26 March, in response to the attacks carried out by Haftar’s forces since 4 April, 2019, to control Tripoli, the seat of internationally-recognised GNA.