Haftar to Corriere della Sera: Military force can bring order to Libya

Khalifa Haftar – the commander of Operation Dignity (Photo: Libyan News)

Libya’s eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar said Friday force must remain an option for imposing order in Libya, though he added that a political solution would be preferable.

“It’s obvious that we prefer the political routes, but when these don’t work there must be other solutions,” Haftar told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview.

Haftar added that he is defeating terrorism in Libya not through diplomatic channels, but with weapons.

Haftar spoke to the Italian newspaper after his first official visit to Italy on Tuesday. After the meeting, Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti expressed hope that all parties would support The UN delegate to Libya Ghassan Salame’s “inclusive political strategy… excluding any military solution”.

Salame made a renewed push to get rival factions to sign up to a plan to stabilize Libya and take the country toward presidential and parliamentary elections.

“Pinotti agreed to train our soldiers and urged the revocation of a UN arms embargo if European countries are interested in stopping migrants,” Haftar explained to the newspaper.

Haftar also criticized Italian efforts to convert armed groups on the Western coast into anti-smuggling police, saying it’s a big mistake.

“The Italian government should not be led astray by the militias. Tomorrow they will fight among themselves for a share of the spoils; it will be a never-ending blackmail,” Haftar concluded.

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