Peace Efforts at Stake as Haftar’s forces continue Attacks in Libya

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames that forces loyal to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar are not concerned about peace or a cease-fire as they continue to carry out attacks against the government and the people.

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Forces loyal to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar are not concerned about peace or a cease-fire in Libya, Turkey’s president said Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Gambian counterpart Adama Barrow hold a joint press conference after an official welcoming ceremony in Banjul, Gambia on January 27, 2020.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Gambia with his Gambian counterpart Adama Barrow, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Haftar’s spokesman comment saying that the process in Libya is in a critical position is “very meaningful”.

“We hope that those who came to Berlin summit on January 19 also heard those comments and will determine their attitude accordingly,” Erdogan said, referring to Haftar’s uncompromising attitude.

On January 12, parties in Libya announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by the leaders of Turkey and Russia. But two days later in Russia, talks for a permanent cease-fire ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

Read more: Libya Jolted by Rockets Attack: A Blow to Peace Talks

A week later, Haftar accepted terms in Berlin to designate members to a UN-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire.

Khalifa Haftar has been part of the Libyan political scene for more than four decades. He is a dual Libyan-American national and the Commander of Libyan National Army (LNA). He served in Army under Qaddafi and participated in the Yom Kippur war of 1973 in the Libyan contingent against Israel. He is considered to be the most potent commander in the country. Apart from overthrowing Qaddafi back in 2011, he fought for or against almost every warring faction in the country.

The split in the Libyan Armed forces in 2015 led Haftar to control LNA  and has since fought against the Libyan Army controlled by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). He embarked upon many offensives to take control of  Libya’s capital, Tripoli.

Last week, a day before the regional foreign ministers’ meeting in Algeria to discuss peace efforts in Libya, Tripoli airport was hit by several missiles leading to its closure again. “Any military or civilian aircraft, regardless of its affiliation, flying over the capital will be destroyed,” warned Haftar’s spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari, adding that such flights would be considered a violation of a ceasefire in place since January 12. The unending attacks and the threatening language used by Haftar’s forces are proving to be the stumbling blocks in the peace talks.

Read more: Trump gives a blunt warning to Erdogan after Turkish Parliament approves sending forces to Libya

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar’s in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

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