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TRIPOLI: The East Libyan mighty Khalifa Haftar has called on his fighters to « evict » the Turkish armed forces, which support the United Nations-recognized government, while talks drag on to end the longstanding war in the oil-rich nation.
« There will be no peace in the presence of a colonizer on our land, » said Haftar in a speech at the 69th. Anniversary of Libya’s independence on Thursday. « We will therefore take up arms again to build our peace with our own hands. . . and as Turkey rejects peace and chooses to go to war, prepare to drive out the occupiers by faith, will and arms, « Haftar said.
Libya was thrown into chaos after the fall of NATO in 2011 and led to the assassination of the long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi. The violence-ridden North African country has since been a battlefield for tribal militias, jihadists and mercenaries, and an important gateway for desperate migrants traveling to Europe.
Two rival camps are now vying for power, with the east-based government of Khaftar versus the Tripoli-based government of the National Agreement (GNA) recognized by the United Nations and supported by Ankara.
Turkey’s assistance with military advisors, material and mercenaries helped the GNA push Haftar’s forces back from the gates of Tripoli earlier this year. Haftar, supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, spoke after Ankara Parliament approved a motion this week to extend the deployment of soldiers in Libya by 18 months.
« Officers and soldiers, get ready, » said Haftar on Thursday, calling hundreds of soldiers to parade in a military barracks in the eastern port city of Benghazi. At the same time, the GNA chief in Tripoli, Fayez al-Sarraj, urged the Libyans to « turn the page on disagreement in order to achieve stability ». .
This will only happen through « solidarity between political forces, » he said. A ceasefire, signed under the auspices of the United Nations in October and widely respected, has allowed rival parties to return to the negotiating table.
Libya, Turkey, Government of the National Agreement, Khalifa Haftar, Tripoli, Turkish Armed Forces
World News – CA – Khalifa Haftar calls on troops to « evict » Turkish armed forces
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