Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar late on Thursday rejected calls for a ceasefire by Turkey and Russia and announced a continuation of his military operations.
In a statement read by his spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari, Haftar claimed a revival of the political process and the country’s stability could only be assured by the “eradication of terrorist groups” and the dissolution of the militia controlling the capital, Tripoli.
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Haftar’s forces in April launched an offensive against the capital, seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
“We welcome [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s call for a ceasefire. However, our fight against terrorist organizations that seized Tripoli and received support of some countries will continue until the end,” al-Mesmari said on a video posted to social media.
On Wednesday, the Turkish and Russian presidents urged a ceasefire in Libya by January 12 following a meeting in Istanbul. The UN-recognised GNA welcomed the ceasefire call.
According to the UN, more than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of Haftar’s military operation and at least 5,000 others wounded.
Since the deposing of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.