Haftar oversees new troop deployment for Tripoli offensive ahead of Berlin talks

Following a meeting with Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, General Khalifa Haftar has overseen the deployment of reinforcements in preparation to take over Tripoli before an international peace conference in Berlin on Sunday, Arab Weekly reported.

Haftar met with Maas in Benghazi on Thursday, and then went to Greece for a series of meetings the same day.

The deployment of additional forces underlines “his commitment to end control of Tripoli by Islamist militias,” who are aligned with Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Arab Weekly said.

A statement by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) announced a “final decisive offensive” in preparation to take Tripoli.

The LNA controls 90 percent of Libyan territory, and had launched an offensive in April to take control of the capital, for which it recently obtained Russian support.

The Turkish parliament early this month passed a bill to send troops to Libya to support the GNA, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced this week that the deployment of Turkish soldiers had begun.

The international conference in Berlin aims to establish a permanent ceasefire, with attendance from Russia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and France, who support General Khalifa Haftar, as well as Turkey, United States, United Kingdom and Algeria, which was invited by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  

"At the Libya Conference we must above all see that the weapons embargo is adhered to again, which is basically agreed by the UN but unfortunately not honoured," German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted by Arab Weekly as saying. 

Haftar is wiling to observe the ceasefire, Maas said in a tweet, stressing Germany’s focus to prevent terrorist groups gaining more strength.

“Our goal is to clear the way for real peace negotiations,” Maas said in another tweet. The minister said in an interview that an enormous obstacle to a political solution to the Libyan conflict was a failure to comply with the arms embargo.