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Libyan general suffers setback in bid to take control of Tripoli

LIBYAN warlord General Khalifa Haftar suffered another setback in his bid to take control of the capital Tripoli when a group of MPs in his eastern power base backed a peace initiative proposed by parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh.

A statement issued by 11 prominent members of the Tobruk-based parliament said that it “fully supports Saleh’s initiative as a final political solution to the Libyan crisis.”

The MPs called on all sides in the conflict “to accept the initiative as a mechanism of selection and decision-making, a fair distribution of wealth between regions and the appointment of a new committee of experts to develop a consensual constitution.”

Libya plunged into instability following the 2001 Nato-backed bombing of the country and the overthrow of then leader Muammar Gadaffi, who was brutally murdered by rebels in October of that year.

Two rival governments emerged: the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord, located in the capital Tripoli, and the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army, controlling most of Libya’s territory.

Gen Haftar launched a bid to seize control of Tripoli in April 2019, and battle has continued to rage, with weapons flowing into the country despite a UN arms embargo.

The LNA is supported by Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, while the GNA’s most notable backer is Turkey, which has flooded the country with thousands of jihadist mercenaries from the Syrian battlefields.

Gen Haftar brushed aside the MPs’ move — whose authority is weakened by the parliament currently meeting with only  a fifth of its 200 members present — but the political setback has been accompanied by a series of defeats on the battlefield.

The GNA was able to retake several strategic towns and cities, along with an air base south-west of Tripoli, thanks to Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone strikes.


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