General Khalifa Haftar said in a televised speech that his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) was going to take formal control of the war-torn North African country, Reuters reported on Monday.
Haftar’s forces had already been in de facto control of the country’s eastern regions as they continued to push for the capital Tripoli, where the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), established in 2015 following Mohammed Gaddafi’s fall, is based.
The LNA would be “accepting a popular mandate” to rule Libya, Reuters said citing Haftar.
The country has been divided since 2014 between the two factions, and the LNA last year launched the campaign on Tripoli, with support from Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Pro-GNA forces have taken back some ground during April, with Turkey’s support of weapons and military advisers.
Haftar said last week that the agreement that led to the GNA’s establishment had failed.
Haftar “no longer seeks to conceal his ontempt for a political solution and democracy in Libya,” GNA adviser Mohammed Ali Abdallah was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Wednesday said the country would continue to provide support to the Libyan government pledged in bilateral agreements, despite the ongoing global crisis of COVID-19.
“President Erdoğan made it clear that the international community must support the legitimate Libyan government,” Altun said, calling Haftar a putschist and his forces a rogue regime.