UN-backed govt initiative media marketing: Libya’s eastern-based army

Libya’s eastern-based army has said that the recent initiative of the UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj for a ceasefire and subsequent elections was “media marketing”.

“The initiative signed by Serraj is for media marketing, and there is a military mobilization and transfer of equipment to target the National Army in the city of Sirte,” Ahmad al-Mismari, spokesman of the eastern based army, told reporters on Sunday.

“Over the past 24 hours, we spotted Turkish ships and frigates advancing towards Sirte in an offensive manner,” Xinhua news agency quoted al-Mismari as saying.

The spokesman confirmed that the eastern-based army is “ready to respond to any attacks on its positions in Sirte and Jufra”.

On August 21, Serraj and the Speaker of the eastern-based House of Representatives Aguila Saleh issued statements calling for a ceasefire in the country, reopening of oilfields and ports, and holding elections.

The statements also include making Sirte and Jufra demilitarized zones.

The spokesman’s remarks came a day after Libya’s High Council of State rejected dialogue with the eastern-based army, led by General Khalifa Haftar, and stressed the need for the UN-backed government to “control all the Libyan soil”.

The Council also stressed that any dialogue or agreement must be based on the 2015 UN-sponsored Libyan political agreement.

The UN-backed government had been engaged in a deadly armed conflict against the eastern-based army for more than a year over control of the capital Tripoli, before his government recently took over all of western Libya.

Despite signing the UN-sponsored political agreement and appointment of the UN-backed government of national accord in 2015, Libya remains politically divided amid insecurity and escalating violence.