26/12/2020–|Last updated: 12/26/202002:13 PM (Makkah)
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar arrived at the head of a military delegation to Libya today, after the threats of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar to the Turkish forces in Libya, and the threat to ignite a new war.
The sources stated that the Turkish military delegation – which also includes the Chief of Staff – will meet with the President of the Supreme Council of State in Libya Khaled Al-Mishri, Defense Minister Salah El-Din Al-Nimroush, and Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, and the delegation will also visit the headquarters of the Turkish forces operating in Libya.
The visit, which was not announced in advance, comes after retired Major General Khalifa Haftar called on his fighters to “eject” the Turkish forces supporting the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, at a time when talks are continuing to end the long-running war in the oil-rich country.
Since the Turkish army intervened in support of the reconciliation government forces under a security and military agreement between Ankara and Tripoli, Haftar made similar threats, and Turkey responded by warning that it would be a legitimate target for it in case its interests in Libya were attacked by any attack by him.
Turkish support for the Government of National Accord helped repel an attack on Tripoli by Haftar’s forces backed by Russia, Egypt and the UAE in April 2019.
A few days ago, the Turkish Parliament approved a proposal to extend the stay of Turkish soldiers in Libya for a period of 18 months.
The Al-Wefaq government and Haftar struck a ceasefire agreement in November that puts a formal end to the fighting and paves the way for elections at the end of next year.
However, Haftar indicated – in a speech he gave in Benghazi – that the confrontation with what he described as the Turkish colonialist and his soldiers is looming on the near horizon, and that there will be no peace “in the shadow of the colonialist and his presence on our land,” in a speech marking the 69th anniversary of Libya’s independence.
Haftar called on his forces to prepare for what he described as the coming decisive confrontation to expel the colonizer, as he put it.
The Minister of Defense in the Libyan Government of National Accord, Salah El-Din Al-Nimroush, rejected Haftar’s statements, and said that the Accord Forces are still respecting the ceasefire agreement sponsored by the international community, accusing the retired major general of repeatedly trying to breach the agreement reached on October 23 last. During the talks of the Libyan Joint Military Committee (5 + 5).
He added that Haftar continues to mobilize forces, referring to what was previously announced by the Government of National Accord about sending new reinforcements of Russian, Syrian and Chadian mercenaries to Sirte (450 kilometers east of Tripoli) and Jufra, which is located in central Libya, and includes a military base for mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Company and warplanes that it has deployed. Russia months before now.
The Libyan minister emphasized that instructions were issued to the Al-Wefaq Forces to fully prepare and await instructions from Fayez Al-Sarraj, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Chairman of the Presidential Council, to deal and respond to the sources of fire at the appropriate place and time without relentlessly.
Al-Nimroush also said that any political solution in Libya would not involve war criminals who were the cause of all massacres and destruction, and stressed that the Government of National Accord could not accept any initiative that would give cover to the crimes committed by Haftar during his attack on Tripoli and other cities in western Libya, including It is killing and laying mines.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, the head of the Supreme Council of State in Libya Khaled Al-Mashri accused the retired Major General Khalifa Haftar, the position by the Tobruk Parliament, commander-in-chief of the army, of seeking to ignite a new war, saying that he had become outside the political settlement.
Meanwhile, a source from the Libyan Joint Military Committee said to Al-Jazeera that the committee completed the first prisoner exchange between the forces of the Government of National Accord and the forces of the retired Major General Khalifa Haftar, which included 15 prisoners of the Accord forces and 33 of Haftar’s forces in the Shwerf area, southwest of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
The source pointed out that the operation comes within the understandings reached by the committee in its meetings in Sirte, and that negotiations are continuing to release all prisoners.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya welcomed the exchange of detainees between the GNA forces and Haftar, under the supervision of the Joint Military Committee (5 + 5), and the efforts made by sheikhs, notables and sages.
In a tweet, the UN mission urged the two parties to complete the exchange of all detainees covered by the agreement, and to accelerate the implementation of all the terms of the ceasefire signed between the two parties, last October in Geneva.