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Pro-Haftar official: 'We will never be enemies of Tel Aviv'

Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, 17 January 2020 [Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr]
Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, 17 January 2020 [Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr]

An official close to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar has sought support from Israel in its conflict against the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, according to a Hebrew newspaper.

Abdel Salam Al-Badri, deputy prime minister of the government in eastern Libya loyal to Haftar, confirmed that they have never been, and never will be, enemies of Tel Aviv.

This came in an interview with the newspaper Makor Rishon, affiliated with the Zionist movement in Israel, and was published on Wednesday evening.

The newspaper disclosed that Al-Badri called on Israel to join a maritime cooperation agreement between Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon, reached in response to a dispute with the GNA and Turkey over boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea.

Al-Badri explained that: "The initiative is about signing a joint marine agreement in line with the sea border demarcation agreement signed by Turkey and the Libyan government in Tripoli."

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Al-Badri told the newspaper: "Throughout history we have been a haven for all religions. We have a long history of contact with Israel and the Jewish community."

While conveying support for the two-state solution between Palestinians and Israelis, Al-Badri added: "We look for a new map that takes into consideration the interests of our countries alongside the other countries in the region."

The official in the pro-Haftar government sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing: "We have never been and never will be enemies and we hope that you will support us. We ignore the circumstances that have separated us so far."

Libya has no official ties with Israel. On the contrary, there is an official and popular rejection of the normalisation and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The Libyan army recently caused heavy losses to Haftar's forces, expelling them from the capital and all the cities of the west coast, to the border with Tunisia. It also liberated the city of Tarhuna and the city of Bani Walid (180 kilometres southeast of Tripoli).

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