Tripoli militias must disarm before ceasefire talks

Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar called for the disarmament of militias defending the capital before he would agree to stop his offensive on Tripoli, promising gunmen who lay down their arms would be “safe and sound”.

Field Marshal Haftar said his forces had begun their march on Tripoli after six rounds of failed negotiations with the United Nations-recognised government led by Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj, according to an interview published in France’s Journal du Dimanche.

“Of course, a political solution remains the objective,” Field Marshal Haftar was quoted as saying. “But to get back to politics, we have to finish with the militias once and for all.”

He offered amnesty to fighters in Tripoli disarmed, saying they would be allowed to “return home safe and sound”.

During an international trip last week, Field Marshal Haftar told French President Emmanuel Macron that he was willing to negotiate a ceasefire but conditions were not right.

Field Marshal Haftar’s forces, the Libya National Army, began an offensive on Tripoli nearly two months ago but has yet to breach the city. A new push to crack the capital’s southern defences began on May 25. At the start of May, the LNA leader called on his men to fight harder during Ramadan.

Field Marshal Haftar also said in the interview that United Nations special envoy Ghassan Salame was no longer impartial.

In an address to the Security Council, Mr Salame urged the body to take more action to stem the flow of arms that has fuelled the fighting in what he claimed was shaping up to be the “start of a long and bloody war”.