Tripoli: Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said his offensive on Tripoli won’t stop and political discussions can’t resume until the country’s militias have been disarmed.
In a rare press interview, Haftar told France’s Journal du Dimanche that he marched his military forces on Libya’s capital after six rounds of negotiations with the internationally recognized government in Tripoli failed.
Haftar said Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj is incapable of taking decisions because he’s under the control of militias.
“In the last round of negotiations I realised that it’s not him who decides,” Haftar said.
“Of course a political solution remains the objective, but to get back to politics we have to finish with the militias once and for all.”
Both men rejected calls for ceasefires on foreign trips last week—Haftar in Paris and Al Sarraj in Tunis.
Haftar in the interview offered an amnesty to militia members who put down their arms.
Libya descended into chaos after longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi was removed and killed in a 2011 uprising.
It’s been ruled since 2014 by two feuding administrations — Al Sarraj in the West and Haftar in the East—as well as dozens of regional militias.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched its offensive on Tripoli April 4 after first sweeping through the south of the country.
Haftar also said in the interview that United Nations special envoy Ghassan Salame was no longer impartial.
“He keeps saying irresponsible things,” Haftar said.
“From being an honest and impartial mediator, he has now taken sides.”
Haftar criticised Turkey and Qatar for sending arms to Al Sarraj’s forces, and denied that his Egyptian and United Arab Emirates backers were supplying him with weapons.