By Maha Sulaiman.
Benghazi, 24 July 2015:
The head of the Libya air force, Major-General Saqr Adam Geroushi, has denied claims that he is opposed to the UN-brokered Dialogue or the Draft peace plan endorsed earlier this month by most of the Dialogue delegates apart from those representing the Continuing General National Congress in Tripoli.
He and others in the Libyan National Army were not interested what the political leaders were doing, he told the Libya Herald. “We don’t follow political events”, he said. “We’re fighting terrorism and we will continue to do so until all Libya is safe.”
That, he added, meant not just Benghazi, but Derna, Sirte and the capital, Tripoli, as well.
The LNA was not focussed on what politicians or those in the Dialogue said, he stated. “It’s not our business if they choose a good government or a bad government. Our business is to fight the terrorists.”
He added, however, that if the wrong people were chosen for the government, the public would almost certainly take to the streets to protest.
Geroushi’s name as well as those of the commander of the Libyan armed forces, General Khalifa Hafter and three leading hardliners in Tripoli – Abdurrahaman Sewehli, Saleh Badi and Abdul Rauf Al-Manaie – are said to be on an possible EU sanctions list because of their reported opposition to the Draft.
The EU has confirmed that as part of its support for the Dialogue process and the Draft it “is prepared to adopt sanctions and has started to consider some names”. But it also insists that no names have been confirmed for the moment. Its foreign affairs spokesperson told this newspaper that the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, also believed that any sanctions decision should be “discussed in the framework of the UN”.
Meanwhile, Geroushi added in his statement that the focus on the military by Hafter, himself and others would result in a new armed force being created that was properly trained, properly equipped and properly led. “We are going to build a new, clean, professional army – and one which has no militias,” he said.