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Libyan government condemns UAE for hosting ‘hostile’ Haftar press conference

Libya’s UN-recognised government on Sunday slammed the UAE for hosting an officer of forces loyal to rogue General Khalifa Haftar, who has waged months-long offensive to take the capital Tripoli.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) denounced the “hostile position of the United Arab Emirates”, which has allowed Abu Dhabi to be used as “a media platform for militias attacking the Libyan capital”.

The statement comes a day after the spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army held a news conference in a hall belonging to the UAE’s Al-Ittihad newspaper in Abu Dhabi, during which he ruled out a UN call to return to the negotiating table.

“The time of going back to dialogue is over,” said LNA spokesman General Ahmed al-Mesmari.

“The military solution is the best solution to spread security and reimpose the law.”

In its Sunday statement, the GNA accused the UAE of giving the floor to a “militiaman” and “mouthpiece” of Haftar, “who supports a military regime and rejects a civil and democratic state” in Libya.

Libya has been unstable since a 2011 uprising which overthrew longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In 2014, a civil war broke out after Haftar’s LNA launched an operation against rival militias in Benghazi.

In April this year, the LNA launched an offensive to conquer Tripoli, but five months on, his forces remain locked in a stalemate on the capital’s outskirts.

The fighting has killed at least 1,093 people and wounded 5,752, while some 120,000 others have been displaced, according to the World Health Organisation.

Haftar’s forces are fighting militias backing the GNA, which is led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.

The internationally government is backed by Turkey and Qatar, while Haftar enjoys support from Egypt, the UAE, and Russia. France has also reportedly aided Haftar’s forces.

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