Bengazi: Eastern Libya forces will not allow the United Nations to use the only functioning airport in the capital Tripoli, a spokesman for the group that has been trying to capture the city from the internationally recognised government said on Wednesday.
The LNA, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, has been trying since last April to take Tripoli but has failed to breach the city’s defences.
However, it has air superiority.
LNA spokesman Ahmad Mismari told reporters in the eastern city of Benghazi that the United Nations would have to use other airports such as Misrata because it could not guarantee the safety of flights into Tripoli Mitiga airport as Turkey was using it as a base.
Turkey has supplied combat drones to Tripoli operating in the past out of Mitiga and also sophisticated air defences for the capital.
On Wednesday, the 15-member UN Security Council passed its first resolution on Libya since the Tripoli war broke out, expressing “grave concern over the exploitation of the conflict by terrorist and violent groups” and demanding that the parties commit to a lasting ceasefire according to terms agreed by the country’s Joint Military Commission.
The Joint Military Commission includes five senior officers from the LNA and five aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
The rival factions began UN-led talks in Geneva last week aimed at securing a ceasefire, but a first round failed to yield an agreement.
The UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) earlier said the LNA had in the past three weeks several times blocked UN flights carrying staff to and from Libya.
A humanitarian source said Haftar was imposing a “no-fly zone” for Tripoli and there were concerns that U.N. flights could be a possible target.
UN envoy Gassan Salame has been mediating between Haftar and the Tripoli government.