UAE Hints at Frustrations With Beleaguered Libyan Ally Haftar
(Bloomberg) -- A senior United Arab Emirates official delivered rare criticism of the Gulf nation’s Libyan ally Khalifa Haftar after he suffered major battlefield defeats at the hands of the Turkey-backed internationally recognized government.
“Some of our friends have taken their own unilateral decisions. We’ve seen it with the STC in Yemen. We’ve seen it with General Haftar in Libya,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in an online forum Wednesday, also referring to UAE-backed separatists in southern Yemen.
“A lot of these unilateral calculations have proven wrong,” he said. “These are calculations that sometimes you don’t really have the control or the sort of moral advice that you want on some of your friends.”
After Haftar’s offensive on the capital, Tripoli, collapsed this month, another of his allies -- neighbor Egypt -- announced a cease-fire and political initiative to end Libya’s conflict. Haftar, who also received backing from Russia, fell in line with Cairo’s proposal.
The Tripoli government, though, signaled it would only talk once it had taken the city of Sirte, near Libya’s critical oil crescent.
Gargash said the UAE supports the initiative developed by Egypt and the speaker of Libya’s eastern-based parliament, Aguileh Saleh, and criticized Turkey.
“What Turkey doesn’t understand today is that getting 100 kilometers here or 200 kilometers there is not going to end the crisis in Libya,” he said. “Right now Turkey is the only country objecting to an immediate comprehensive cease-fire and the next battle over Sirte is really problematic.”
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