Flights resumed Friday between the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and the city of Benghazi in the east, the headquarters of the two rival authorities in the country, after a year and a half of stoppage, in what appears to be a sign of a strong lull between the two camps.
The Government of National Accord headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, recognized by the United Nations and an authority in the east of the country, embodied by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, is fighting over power in Libya, which has been mired in chaos since 2011. There have been bloody battles between the two parties, but the past few months have witnessed negotiation sessions sponsored by the United Nations with the aim of ending the crisis.
“The efforts made by the President of the Presidency Council, Mr. Fayez Al-Sarraj, and the Deputy Headed by the Council of Ministers, Mr. Ahmed Omar Maiteq, have successfully resulted in the resumption of flights between Mitiga and Benina airports” in Benghazi, the second largest city in the country, located about a thousand kilometers east of the capital, according to a statement by the Government of National Accord. .
The statement added that the appeal came “with the aim of facilitating the movement of citizens between the eastern and western regions.” “The arrival of the African Airlines plane, Friday morning, to Benina International Airport, carrying a delegation from the company and the airport and civil aviation authorities,” the statement said.
Commercial flights between the two cities were interrupted a year and a half ago, after forces loyal to Haftar launched an attack to control Tripoli in April 2019, which failed to achieve its goal after 14 months of fighting.
The Government of National Accord and the forces loyal to it control the west of the country, while Haftar and his allies control the east and part of the south.
Libya, rich in oil, has been living in a state of insecurity since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 following a popular revolution.
Although the resumption of flights reflects efforts to calm down, the parties to the conflict continue to exchange accusations of employing “terrorist” groups.
Afriqiyah Airways and 3 other Libyan airlines will ensure their “readiness to resume flights” between the two airports, according to the Government of National Accord’s statement.