Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Libya: Haftar Ignores Local Initiative to End War in Tripoli

Libya: Haftar Ignores Local Initiative to End War in Tripoli

Wednesday, 30 October, 2019 - 10:30
A convoy vehicle is seen after reopening the Mitiga airport in Tripoli, Libya October 29, 2019. (Reuters)

The commander of Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, ignored a new political initiative put forward by head of the unrecognized High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri, in an attempt to resolve the current crisis in the country.

Mishri, one of the most prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, put forward an initiative to solve the Libyan crisis.

The initiative called for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of LNA forces from the administrative borders of Tripoli and Tarhuna to their locations prior to Haftar’s military operation. It also suggested halting flights of all types of warplanes with the help of the UN, unifying the security and military institutions, and preparing for the presidential and legislative elections.

Sources close to Haftar downplayed the importance of the initiative, calling it just another failed attempt to keep Mishri, who is loyal to Government of National Accord (GNA), in power.

Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Milad Matoq announced that Mitiga airport will reopen and flights will resume within two weeks.

A joint delegation of ministers and Special Representative of UN Secretary-General (SRGC) Ghassan Salame inspected the airport, which was closed a few weeks ago after being bombed during the Tripoli clashes.

“The return of flights depends on the carriers and airport management. It needs time to re-schedule flights, possible a week to 10 days or two weeks,” Matoq told reporters. He asserted that the airport is free of any military manifestations.

“We had to make sure that all parts of the airport, the runway, and the arrival and departure terminals were free of military manifestations,” said UN Libya envoy.

"This is purely a civilian airport that provides services for more than 1.5 million people annually," the minister said.

Salame confirmed that the airport is civilian and has no signs of military use, asserting that the main parts of the airport, including the airstrip, the hangars, and the arrival terminals, are all clear of any military signs and are not used for military purposes.

Salame also reiterated the importance of reopening the airport for Libyans, humanitarian workers, diplomats, and the flights to transport migrants agreeing on voluntary return.

The UN plans to open its own terminal at Mitiga to be used by diplomatic missions and voluntary flights.

“Our presence will add to the civil character to the airport,” Salame said.

Editor Picks