Haftar threatens to ‘conquer’ Tripoli if December elections are not held

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Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar has said he will invade Tripoli again to fight “militias and terrorists” if elections planned for December do not take place.

Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar has threatened to carry out another military offensive on the capital Tripoli if elections scheduled for December do not take place.

“We followed the wishes of our friends and allies, and we will resort to a political solution… which is the elections. If we do not reach a solution, (our) armed forces are ready once again to liberate the capital from militias and criminals,” Haftar said.

He made the comments during an interview with one of his loyalists, journalist Mahmoud al-Misrati, who published excerpts of on Facebook.

It came as UN-sponsored talks to pave the way for the elections failed to find common ground after weeklong talks near Geneva, according to the UN mission in Libya.

Delegates at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum were unable to establish the constitutional basis for presidential and parliamentary elections.

The impasse jeopardises an agreed-upon roadmap to end the country’s conflict.

Speaking to al-Misrati, Haftar threatened those he described as militias and terrorists in Tripoli that “the hour was near,” suggesting that an assault on the city was imminent.

He added that his withdrawal from Tripoli two years ago was a “sovereign decision” taken solely by him, rejecting claims that he was in any way forced out.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army – which has been backed by Russia, Egypt and the UAE – launched its offensive to overthrow a internationally recognised unity government in Tripoli two years ago.

Turkey intervened on the side of government forces, helping to repel Haftar’s advance.

A formal truce last October set in motion a UN-led process that led to the creation of an interim government tasked with unifying the country’s divided institutions, launching reconstruction efforts and preparing for December polls.

Haftar kept a low profile throughout the talks, but in recent weeks he has made a comeback with public rallies and pledges.

Source: the New Arab

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