By Sami Zaptia.
London, 1 August 2019:
Faiez Serraj, head of Libya’s internationally-recognized Presidency Council and Government of National Accord, summoned the UN SRSG and UNSMIL head, Ghassan Salame yesterday, to hand him a memorandum protesting the fallacy of Salame’s briefing to the Security Council on the situation in Libya on Monday.
Separate statements were issued by the Serraj’s Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, his Ministry of Interior and his Ministry of Transport.
Sarraj’s Chiefs of Staff called on Salame to name the terrorists in the GNA’s ranks who are fighting with them against Khalifa Hafter’s forces.
It stressed that it was taking all the necessary steps to prevent such elements joining its war effort.
It went on to state that if Salame did not put forward a list of these terrorists it would consider his remarks baseless and an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Tripoli armed forces which could subject him to legal proceedings.
Similarly, the Tripoli Interior Ministry complained that Salame had “misinformed” the UNSC.
Salame had also accused Tripoli of using Mitiga airport, Tripoli’s only functioning airport, for military purposes.
Specifically he had said: “I call upon the authorities in Tripoli to cease using the airport for military purposes and for the attacking forces to halt immediately their targeting of it”.
The Tripoli Ministry of Transport equally denied that Mitiga airport has been used during the war against Hafter for military purposes.
The reaction by Tripoli comes in response to Salame’s statement in his Monday remarks to the UNSC that “some extremist elements have sought to legitimize themselves by joining the battle”, and “the parties [the LNA and GNA] must be urged to decisively disassociate themselves from any violent extremist elements and to actively prevent them from joining the conflict”.
Understandably, the GNA is clearly keen to disassociate itself from the LNA’s accusation that it is linked to terrorists.