The commander of Dignity Operation, General Khalifa Haftar, has rejected an initiative by mediators to end fighting and stop bloodshed in the war-torn city, Mustafa El Sagezli, the General Manager of Libyan Program for Reintegration and Development has revealed.
Sagezli told Turkey-based Arraed TV on Monday that mediators had contacted Khalifa Haftar to accept the peaceful initiative, which allows Benghazi Shura Council fighters to withdraw from the city to the western region of Libya and hand over Benghazi to him, but he refused.
“Benghazi Shura fighters in Ganfouda, Al-Sabri and Souq Al-Hut accepted the initiative after the mediators’ pressure on them and agreed to withdraw from the city in return for a safe corridor for the trapped families, but Khalifa Haftar was stubborn.” Sagezli disclosed.
To continue the way for a peaceful compromise for three-year long Benghazi fighting, Sagezli said he had contacted a close ally of Khalifa Haftar, which he did not name, and proposed this initiative to him.
“I told him, this is a chance for you to save blood of both sides and take full control of Benghazi,” Sagezli said, adding that the ally was very enthusiastic about this proposal and demanded hours to consult Khalifa Haftar.
Unfortunately, three hours later, Khalifa Haftar’s close ally contacted Sagezli back and said “Khalifa Haftar wanted Benghazi Shura fighters to hand themselves in to his army with their weapons,” which was rejected by the fighters and the mediators.
Khalifa Haftar launched Dignity Operation in May 2014 in an effort to control Benghazi, but he failed as fighting is still raging in the city, leaving hundreds of people killed and many others wounded. Thousands of people have also fled the city.