Head of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, gave an exclusive interview in Moscow, Tuesday. He was speaking during his visit to the capital, where he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“We have put everything we have in the political and military spheres on the table. I believe we agree on all the issues we discussed. We have come to the point where we are on the exact same wavelength and everything is going well,” Haftar said, referring to talks with the Russian ministers.
During his visit, Haftar asked the Russian side “to [help] soften the unjust resolutions taken against us in relation to the embargo on weapons supplies [to Libya],” with the latter promising to “do everything in its power.”
SOT Khalifa Haftar, Head of Libyan National Army (Arabic): “First of all, our visit to Russia is nothing out of the ordinary. We have good relations with the Russian Federation. We have a longstanding, historic relationship. We consolidated these relations during our first, second and of course, third visit. As usual, we meet to exchange opinions and clarify the situation in Libya. We gave a thorough and detailed description of the situation to ensure Russia is fully aware of what is happening there. We trust each other because we do not hide anything. We have put everything we have in the political and military spheres on the table. I believe we agree on all the issues we discussed. We have come to the point where we are on the exact same wavelength and everything is going well.”
¤SOT Khalifa Haftar, Head of Libyan National Army (Arabic): “Russia never shied away from giving us any sort of political support. Russia is a world power. It has influence on the world stage. That’s why we asked [Russia] to [help] soften the unjust resolutions taken against us in relation to the embargo on weapons supplies [to Libya]. This issue will undoubtedly be one of the most important priorities for them [Russia] and us. We were sincere in our request and the Russian side said that it would do everything in its power.”
SOT Khalifa Haftar, Head of Libyan National Army (Arabic): “In actual fact, this isn’t the issue [deploying mobile camps in Libya]. They [Italian military ships] have set up a barrier on the borders of territorial waters, to turn back any migrants to Libyan shores. However, this of course is the completely wrong approach. It’s a very strange approach. If they were against taking this approach at home, then how can they expect us to accept it? They want to focus all migrants onto the Libyan coast. At the end of the day, this is migration and you cannot…”
Reporter (Arabic): “Turn it into colonisation.”
Khalifa Haftar, Head of Libyan National Army (Arabic): “Yes, into colonisation. That’s right. It’s not acceptable [to colonise the Libyan territory with refugees]. It would be better to solve this problem at the root. Furthermore, you know that on the territory controlled by the Libyan Army, there is no illegal migration. We discussed a plan in Libya, which involves securing Libyan borders. This plan should prevent any illegal incursion into Libyan territory. We need around 4,000 people to implement this plan. We will of course train these people. But to equip these borders we will need the participation of at least another party. For example, Italy, France, Spain and Greece are transit countries for migrants. At the same time, these countries have the ability to accept some migrants. Therefore, Europe should help provide Libyan border guards with all the necessary equipment. It’s the Europeans that should be responsible for this. We are not trying to create problems. The opposite, we have a conflict in our country and we’re looking for solutions. So how can we accept the fact that the crisis is getting worse? It’s not acceptable. At the same time, we should be capable of decisively resisting any aggression against us. Some may say that the Libyan state is weak and that a part of Libya could be annexed. Our state may not be strong, but we will not give up even an inch of our land. We would rather die than live in humiliation on our own land.”