The UAE said yesterday that fighting “terrorism” was the priority in Libya, where it has backed a controversial military strongman against the UN-recognised government in Tripoli.
The United Arab Emirates, and its allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia, regard Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army militia as a bulwark against Islamist groups which are among the supporters of the Government of National Accord.
Haftar launched an assault on forces loyal to the government in and around the capital on April 4, triggering fighting that has killed 376 people, according to the World Health Organization.
“Priority in Libya to counter extremism/terrorism and support stability in long drawn out crisis,” the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Twitter.
“Abu Dhabi agreement offered opportunity to support UN-led process.
“Meanwhile, extremist militias continue to control capital and derail search for political solution,” Gargash said.
The Abu Dhabi agreement he referred to was a renewed commitment to organising nationwide elections that Haftar and unity government leader Fayez al-Sarraj made after a UN-backed meeting in the UAE capital on February 27.