Al-Sirraj lashes out at silence of international community as offensive on Tripoli toughens

Al-Sirraj is interviewed by the BBC in Tripoli [Photo: Internet]
The Head of the Libyan Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sirraj has condemned the “silence” of his international allies as opposing forces advance on the capital Tripoli.

Fayez Al-Serraj told the BBC on Thursday that the Libyan people were starting to feel abandoned by the world as there had been no action to deter the attack led by warlord Khalifa Haftar.

More than 205 people have been killed since fighting began on 4 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Al-Sirraj said failure to support his internationally recognised government could “lead to other consequences”, citing the risk of the Islamic State group capitalising on the instability.

“The public is frustrated by the silence of the international community,” Al-Sirraj told the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Tripoli.

Al-Sirraj bemoaned what he sees as the inaction of the UN Security Council, which is yet to reach a consensus on how to deal with the escalating crisis.

“The Russians won’t accept mentioning Haftar’s name even though everyone knows he is the one behind this,” he added.

“Division within the international community could lead to a repeat of 2011,” Al-Sirraj meant when he said Libya was abandoned.

On Thursday, his administration accused France of supporting Gen Haftar, saying it would sever any “bilateral security agreements” with Paris as a result.

But France has denied allegations of “relentless backing” for the general, whose self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) say they are aiming to restore security in the country.

Al-Sirraj says  Haftar must be held to account for the “savagery and barbarism” of his forces and has issued a warrant for his arrest.

He warned that the Islamic State group – which was driven from its Libyan stronghold in 2016 – could try to exploit the chaos caused by Haftar’s forces.

“Definitely there is fear that IS could come back, and take advantage of this void,” he said.

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