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Ghannouchi Congratulates Libya’s Sarraj on Recapture of Watiya Airbase

Ghannouchi Congratulates Libya’s Sarraj on Recapture of Watiya Airbase

Thursday, 21 May, 2020 - 08:30
Speaker Rached Ghannouchi speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists in Tunis, Tunisia, April 25, 2018. Reuters file photo

Leader of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda movement Rached Ghannouchi has congratulated Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s Government of National Accord, on GNA’s recapture of al-Watiya airbase from the Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar.

Ghannouchi, who is the speaker of Tunisia’s parliament, extended his congratulations to Sarraj in a phone call on Tuesday evening.

His move has raised doubts about Tunisia’s allegedly neutral stance on developments in Libya.

Libyan sources said that Ghannouchi breathed a sigh of relief as the LNA withdrew from the strategic al-Watiya airbase near the Tunisian border last Monday. The Tunisian politician also asserted that there is no military answer to the raging conflict in Libya and that it is important to return to the political course.

Sarraj, for his part, voiced his gratitude for the feelings of brotherhood expressed by Ghannouchi and praised the deep relations shared with Tunisia.

According to a press release, Sarraj praised Tunisia’s keenness on the security and stability of Libya, saying he is looking forward to boost cooperation between the two countries.

Observers believe that Ghannouchi’s move to congratulate the GNA would fuel ideological conflicts between a number of Tunisian parties. The move follows reassurances given by Tunisian authorities, on more than one occasion, that the country will remain impartial to the conflict in Libya.

Tunisian President Kais Saied had previously acknowledged his support for the GNA, which means that the Tunisian position is clearly in favor of Sarraj.

Tunisia’s opposition political parties called for transparency in political affairs, demanding that Ghannouchi announces his diplomatic and political initiatives to the public.

The speaker’s phone call to Sarraj was not made public, prompting opposition parties to doubt whether hiding the information from the public was intentional.

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