Libyan Premier Proposes Peace Plan, War Crimes Investigation




(Bloomberg) -- Libya's internationally recognized premier called Sunday for a national conference to end a war that threatens to rip apart the North African oil producer, but stressed he wouldn't back down in the face of an offensive by eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Fayez Al-Sarraj, in a press briefing in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, proposed the conference be held with the help of the United Nations and that it decide a road map for elections to take place in 2019.

The meeting should include "all Libyan parties and members from every area who call for a peaceful solution," he said, more than two months since Haftar's forces began a push for Tripoli that hasn't advanced beyond the city's outskirts.

The effort marks the latest bid by the embattled premier, who heads a government backed by the international community, to end the ongoing crisis in the OPEC member country. Haftar's Libyan National Army launched its offensive in early April after having secured much of the rest of the country.

The assault has been criticized by the UN, and was effectively launched just as the world body's secretary-general was due in Libya. Haftar, who heads the country's most organized militia and describes his fight against armed groups in western Libya as a battle against terrorists, has received backing from Egypt and United Arab Emirates. Al-Sarraj is getting support from Turkey and Qatar, creating a sort of proxy war between Middle Eastern rivals.

Al-Sarraj stressed anew that there was no military solution to the current crisis and that only a political road map would bring stability. At the same time, he called for the international community to investigate what he said could be war crimes by Haftar's forces.

"I am a man of peace, but at the same time I will not allow Libyans' hopes and aspirations to be stolen, and I will continue to lead this battle to fight against tyranny," he said.

(Updates with Al-Sarraj's comments starting in second paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Samer Khalil Al-Atrush in Cairo at skhalilalatr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tarek El-Tablawy at teltablawy@bloomberg.net, Michael Gunn, Paul Abelsky

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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