Libya: LNA Accuses Emir of Qatar of Financing Tripoli Militias

Friday, 9 August, 2019 - 09:00 -

Libya: LNA Accuses Emir of Qatar of Financing Tripoli Militias

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A vehicle belonging to Libyan pro-internationally recognized government forces is seen after the forces retook control of Tripoli International Airport (Reuters)
Cairo- Khalid Mahmoud
The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, accused Emir of Qatar of financing the shipment of a Ukrainian plane destroyed by his forces two days ago at the airbase in Misrata.

The plane was flying from Turkey carrying a large shipment of weapons for the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

LNA spokesman General Brigadier Ahmed al-Mesmari said during a press conference that Emir of Qatar paid for the shipment of the Ukrainian plane, but his plan failed. He noted that Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Qatar and Turkey were greatly frustrated after targeting the plane at the Misrata airport.

Despite announcing what he described as “an airbridge from Turkey and Italy towards Misrata,” Mesmari stressed that the battle in Tripoli has reached its final stages, and reassured Libyans in the south that Haftar is directly informed of the situation there.

Meanwhile, the situation in the capital remained relatively calm, which could be the “calm before the storm,” military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat, referring to a possible and large-scale attack by LNA forces against extremist militias that have controlled the capital since 2014.

Media center of LNA’s 73rd Infantry Brigade said army units in all their positions are ready awaiting orders to begin.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Libya called on all parties to intensify their efforts to protect civilians and prevent damage to civilian infrastructure.

“In particular, we urge an immediate de-escalation and halt to attacks against Matiga Airport in Tripoli, which endangered Libyan civilians seeking to perform the Hajj pilgrimage on August 3,” the embassy said in a statement.

The safety and security of civilian air traffic and infrastructure — which is vital to facilitate commerce and the delivery of humanitarian supplies for the benefit of all Libyans — should be respected by all sides of the conflict.

The Embassy also voiced its concern about ongoing violence impacting civilians in Murzuq, including airstrikes on August 4 that reportedly killed and injured large numbers of civilians.

It affirms its support for the UN call for a truce to begin on Eid al-Adha holiday.

“During this holy season of sacrifice and reflection, we honor the right of all Libyans to express their faith in peace, stability, and dignity. We also reiterate our deep concern about ongoing instability near Tripoli, call for immediate de-escalation and a halt to the fighting, and urge a prompt return to the UN-mediated political process.”

Special Representative of UN Secretary-General (SRGC) Ghassan Salame revealed that his recently announced plan for de-escalation in Libya has three points starting with a humanitarian truce during Eid al-Adha, followed by an international conference of foreign stakeholders and a conference for Libyans.

Salame told Anadolu Agency that they “have not yet verified” the aerial bombardment, carried out by LNA on Sunday evening on Murzuq residential neighborhood, which killed dozens.

He stressed that it was not easy to verify all the information received from Libya, but “our position will be very firm” if it was verified civilians were targeted because such an attack would contradict fundamental international human rights.

Salame expressed optimism that Libyan warring parties would agree on a humanitarian truce, saying it would not be a final one. He also noted that he received a positive response from some parties, while others were still suspicious, and some wanted assurances from their rival parties to commit to the ceasefire.

“There is a difference between a ceasefire and a truce,” asserted Salame.

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