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GNA: Europe’s IRINI Mission in Haftar’s Favor

GNA: Europe’s IRINI Mission in Haftar’s Favor

Saturday, 23 May, 2020 - 07:30
European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, holds a virtual news conference on the approval of Operation Irini, at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium March 31, 2020. Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Cairo- Asharq Al-Awsat

The European Union's naval mission to enforce an arms embargo on Libya is not fair and serves Libyan National Army Commander Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s interests, said Interior Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) on Friday.

In his statements to a German newspaper, Fathi Bashagha stressed that Operation Irini is “unbalanced, unfair, and biased.”

Although the operation halts supplying weapons via sea routes, yet it doesn’t monitor the supply operations across the eastern borders or through air routes except by satellites or radars, the Minister noted.

He pointed out that Haftar has not yet been fully defeated in Tripoli, thanks in particular to Russia’s Private Military Company (PMC) Wagner mercenaries.

“They play a decisive role on the fighting fronts and coordinate artillery there,” Bashagha stressed, adding that the military threat has become “much less” than last year.

He also defended the support received by the GNA from Turkey, whose army is also involved in Libya’s battles. “We have become in a situation in which we must defend ourselves and our people. We are an internationally-recognized legitimate government.”

“The GNA agreed on a ceasefire, while Haftar did not respect the international community’s will and has constantly ignored its efforts.”

The EU seeks through this mission to achieve stability in Libya and support the United Nations peace process.

Irini replaced EU’s Operation Sophia, which expired in March and stopped deploying ships a year ago after Italy, facing an anti-immigrant backlash, said it would no longer take migrants rescued at sea.

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