Mohamad Algueblawi: "We are resolved to recover all of Libya's territory"

Forces loyal to the government of National Union recognized by the UN in the capital Tripoli, May 20, 2020. MAHMUD TURKIA / AFP

Text by: Houda Ibrahim Follow

In an interview with RFI, Mohamad Algueblaoui, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the government of National Union, reviews the latest diplomatic-military developments in Libya.


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In Libya , after having suffered several setbacks against the government of National Union (GNA) and its Turkish ally, the ANL, the Libyan National Army (the forces of Marshal Haftar) finds itself in a delicate position. Several strategic cities it controlled in western Libya passed to the GNA, the government of National Union recognized by the international community.

His forces were thus forced to redeploy and withdrew from certain areas of the capital. At the same time, Washington, which supported Khalifa Haftar in the name of "  his fight against terrorism  " seems to be getting closer to the GNA . Witness recent statements of support and a noted phone call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Fayez El Sarraj.

RFI: How do you explain this American turnaround ? The United States, after having supported your adversary Khalifa Haftar at the beginning of its offensive to seize Tripoli, seems more favorable to the government of National Union ?

Mohamad Algueblaoui: The United States can only be the ally of the Libyan people in its approach for the stabilization and development of Libya. Besides the United States contributed, in 1951, to the independence of Libya, they (also) helped the Libyan people to get rid of the dictatorship in 2011. The United States then withdrew in the case for their own political reasons and which allowed some of their regional allies to venture into Libya.

As soon as they felt that the situation was becoming more complicated and put the Libyan people again faced with the danger of the return to a dictatorial military regime, they got involved again. The position of the United States vis-à-vis Libya has changed or, more precisely, has evolved. They are no longer on the sidelines as they were at the start of the attack on Tripoli.

But we, as the government of National Union, expect more from the United States. We expect them to play a stronger and more involved role in correcting this. We expect Washington to occupy its natural place in the development of Libya and the realization of the Libyans' dream of a civil, democratic and truly independent state. So that we can integrate the international community and cooperate fully with the countries of the region but also with the Western countries including the United States.

With regard to the fighting on the ground between your forces and those of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the government of National Union seems to be getting a step ahead. What do you hope for at the military level?

In the West, we took everything back, except Tarhouna, the last refuge of Khalifa Haftar. He only has certain localities south of Tripoli. We will release Tarhouna. For us it would be an important development which will allow us to pass to the second phase of this war. We will establish our total authority over the whole of Libyan territory before resuming the political process.

Regarding the political process, do you still insist, as a government of National Union, to exclude Khalifa Haftar from any further discussion?

For us it is clear. We do not want Khalifa Haftar in the political process. This war criminal is not a partner in this future process. The peace process will be between the children of the Libyan people who believe in a democratic and non-militarized state. We are not going to sit down with the one who carries on his hands the blood of the Libyans, the one who brought many mercenaries to Libya and especially, the Russians of the Wagner society.

President of the Presidential Council Fayez al Sarraj appealed to politicians, the elite and the eastern tribes to present a political project so that an agreement and a definitive solution can be reached. this crisis. We call on Libyans of all stripes to jointly develop a political initiative which could end this war.

But the presence of Khalifa Haftar would be an obstacle. Proof of this is, ten days before the inclusive national conference planned for Ghadames, he launched his offensive and caused the conference to collapse. It was he again who thwarted all previous attempts for a political solution. We had a political agreement recognized by all - (Skhirat) - but it also made it fail. We will no longer be able to renegotiate a new agreement with him because he does not keep his commitments. He does not believe in a civil state and he will always be an obstacle on the way to a political solution.

To listen: Le Monde en questions - Libya: a reversal of the military situation at the heart of the civil war

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