Abu Dhabi: The Dignity Operation, launched by the Libyan National Army (LNA) on April 4, will continue until the capital Tripoli is freed from militias and extremist groups, a spokesman has said.
“The Libyan National Army’s war is against terrorists, militias and outlaws,” Major-General Ahmed Al Mismari told a news conference in Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening
“It is not politically motivated, neither is it for resources or influence,” he added.
Al Mismari said, once Tripoli is freed from terrorists and outlaws, a national dialogue can be launched to create a constitutional declaration, set up a national unity government and proceed to presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Our mission is to uproot terrorism, ensure that life returns to normal in Libya and enable Libyans to freely vote for constitution and electing leaders and representatives,” Al Mismari said.
He said neither inclusive national dialogue, nor elections could be launched while 20 million pieces of arms were held by terrorists and outlaws.
In July, the UAE, US, UK, France, Italy and Egypt issued a joint statement calling for immediate de-escalation in the war-torn country, and warning “terrorist” groups from exploiting the political vacuum.
Al Mismari said the LNA led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, fully supports the UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé as he works to stabilise the situation in Tripoli, to restore confidence in order to achieve a cessation of hostilities, promote inclusive dialogue, and create the conditions for the resumption of the UN political process.
However, he said that terrorists and militias thwarted Salame’s peace efforts.
Five months after the start of the offensive to take Tripoli, Al Mismari denied there was a stalemate.
“The Dignity Operation to free Tripoli is committed to an extremely sophisticated engagement rules to maintain humanity, save civilian lives and reduce suffering,” Al Mismari said.
“The longer this battle is the better for the Libyan people, because more terrorists will be killed.”
He did not set a timeframe for the battle to free Tripoli, but said the LNA is now on the outskirts of the capital city.
“It is better than fighting them inside the populated city, which might endanger the lives of civilians.”
“The LNA fought more than 17,000 terrorists and 7,400 martyrs sacrificed their lives to protect the Libyan people,” Al Mismari said.
Al Mismari condemned Turkey and Qatar for arming and funding these terrorist groups. Qatar is providing millions of dollars and Turkey supplies modern drones and ammunition, he said.
Al Mismari said, if the LNA is excluded from the arms embargo, it would be able to stop illegal human trafficking and smuggling.
He said the LNA met brotherly countries to discuss political solutions, but efforts failed because the agreements were opposed by either terrorist militias or the ambitions of the terrorist organisations, such as the Al Qaida, Daesh and the Muslim Brotherhood.
“But after the liberation of Tripoli we will begin holding a national dialogue to form a unified national government and Parliament, and we welcome any international and Arab participation,” Al Mismari concluded.