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Libya’s Army under GNA: Haftar’s militias are carrying out military buildup around Sirte, Jufra

The spokesman for the Libyan Army’s Sirte-Jufra Operations Room under the Government of National Accord said Saturday there was military buildup around the northern province of Sirte and central Jufra as well as in the southern region by Khalifa Haftar’s militias.

Abdelhadi Drah told Anadolu Agency that a Russian cargo plane landed in Sirte’s Qardabiya Air Base Saturday morning, saying the Libyan Army further determined that 23 armored vehicles and two trucks loaded with ammunition were headed toward the country’s south from Jufra.

The spokesman also underlined that this deployment proved Haftar’s militias were continuing to pursue war and give Haftar power over the country regardless of the ongoing UN-led negotiations.

Forces loyal to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and its rival, Haftar, formally agreed on a ceasefire in October. The deal included the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya within three months, after Haftar’s failed offensive on the capital launched in April 2019.

Following the ceasefire deal, rival sides agreed to work on a mechanism to choose a transitional government that would lead the country to national elections next year. However, Haftar’s militias have been violating the ceasefire constantly amid UN and international community’s silence.

The Libyan Defense Minister Salah Al-Namroush voiced serious doubts that elections could be held in December 2021, as agreed upon during the recent UN-led Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).

Speaking to France 24 on Friday, he ruled out the possibility Haftar would have a role in a future political agreement, underlining that he is a war criminal and should be in jail.

Al-Namroush said the Tripoli-based internationally recognized GNA was ready to engage in talks with the other side, to forge a political solution “on the condition that Haftar is sidelined once and for all.”

The Libyan Defense Minister indicated that the government would withdraw from the ceasefire agreement and the 5+5 joint military committee if Haftar continued his violations of the deal.

The 5+5 joint military committee was formed in February from both warring Libyan parties, which resulted in a ceasefire agreement in October under UN mediation.

Last week, the Libyan GNA accused Haftar of violating the ceasefire by launching an attack on a military camp in the southern town of Ubari.

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