Libya: Al-Sirraj says won’t sit down to negotiate ceasefire with Haftar

Sky News Photo for the Libyan Head of the Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sirraj

The Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez Al Sarraj said on Sunday he was not prepared to sit down with  Khalifa Haftar to negotiate an end to the two-month offensive against Tripoli.

“I will not sit down again with this person because what he has done in past years shows he won’t be a partner in the political process,” Mr Al Sarraj said in an interview with Reuters.

“He was only trying to gain time,” Mr Al Sarraj said referring  to Haftar’s meeting with him in Abu Dhabi  and pointing out that Haftar  had sent planes to bomb Tripoli.

“Our primary military goal is to defend Tripoli,” he said. “In the coming days there will be positive news and progress,” he added, without giving further details.

“You cannot ask the person defending himself to cease fire,” he said.

He also earlier on Sunday proposed a national conference to prepare for elections by year-end. “Libyans should meet to overcome this struggle for power,” Mr Al Sarraj said.

The United Nations – which had proposed its own such forum just before the war – and the European Union welcomed the idea. But eastern policymakers allied to Gen Haftar predictably rejected it.

The prime minister said he was concerned the Opec member’s oil facilities could become embroiled in the conflict.

“For us, it is very important that oil production continues,” he said. “But there are dangers coming from the other side which has turned ports into military positions.”

Mr Al Sarraj said his forces would avoid attacking any oil facilities even if Haftar’s  forces were stationed there.

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