Haftar rejects calls for ceasefire by Putin and Edogan
Eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said he would not stop military operations against forces loyal to a Tripoli administration, even as he praised a ceasefire initiative issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on January 8.
In a statement read by his spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari, Haftar claimed that a revival of the political process and the country's stability could only be assured by the "eradication of terrorist groups" and the dissolution of militia controlling Tripoli.
An adviser to Haftar said that Haftar's position did not amount to a rejection of the ceasefire initiative, but rather "conditions that must be fulfilled" ahead of any truce.
Haftar's forces in April launched an offensive against the capital, seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord.
Haftar "hailed... President Vladimir Putin's initiative" in his statement yesterday, but stressed that the "efforts of the armed forces in the war against terrorists" would continue, his spokesman said.
"These groups have seized the capital and received the support of some countries and governments who supply them with military equipment, ammunition... and drones. These countries also send terrorists all over the world to fight (Haftar's) armed force," the AFP cited him as saying.
Haftar was referring to Turkey, which has recently sent some troops to shore up the GNA, while he also accused Ankara of sending pro-Turkish Syrian fighters to Libya.
Libya has been in a state of a civil war since its longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was ousted and killed in 2011. Since then, political power in the country has been split between two rival governments: the Council of Deputies based in Tobruk and the Tripoli-based General National Congress. Following the signing of a UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement in December 2015, a Government of National Accord was established in the country and started working in late March 2016.