The head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, whose forces have been battling to capture the capital Tripoli from militias backed by the Government of National Accord (GNA) since April, has said he is open to dialogue.
"When all is said and done, we need dialogue and we need to sit down" at the negotiating table, Haftar said in a statement issued on Wednesday night on the eve of a special session on Libya on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Haftar stressed however that dialogue was "not possible so long as terrorist groups and criminal militias control Tripoli," a reference to the myriad of armed fighters that back the GNA of Fayez al-Sarraj.
Haftar welcomed the special session to be co-chaired by France and Italy in New York later Thursday, saying that he hoped it would come up with "proposals that serve Libya's interests and at the same time restore security and stability."
Thousands have died in successive rounds of fighting in Libya since 2011. The World Health Organization said at least 1,000 people have been killed, including 106 civilians, since the battles for the capture of Tripoli began five months ago. By early August, the UN humanitarian agency said fighting for the capital had displaced more than 105,000 people.