The Address | Benghazi – Libya
TRIPOLI – Vice Chairman of the Presidential Council, Ali Al-Qatrani, criticized in a statement on Monday the letter sent to the Security Council by Libyan Ambassador to the United Nations, Elmahdi S. Elmajerbi, regarding the latest developments in the southern region.
In his letter, Elmajerbi called on the Security Council to take action against the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the aftermath of LNA’s warning strike on a plane that violated air embargo in El-Feel oilfield on Saturday.
The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) claimed that LNA fired “rockets” against the plane and damaged the oilfield. However, in a statement issued on Sunday, LNA denied attacking the plane or damaging the oilfield. LNA’s statement was accompanied by video footage showing the oilfield, the plane and its crew safe and sound.
Al-Qatrani said, in a statement addressed to UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salamé, that the letter contained many misleading claims aimed at tarnishing the image of the Libyan National Army. Al-Qatrani said the letter was issued “without consensus” and “came in response to pressure from some regional and international parties.”
Al-Qatrani said that Elmajerbi’s letter contained many question marks as to how GNA justifies the use of a civil aircraft in an area that was declared a military operation zone by the Libyan National Army. LNA’s Air Force Operations Room issued orders prohibiting any plane from landing or taking off in all the southern airstrips without taking permission from and coordinating with Air Force Operations Room.
“The letter sent by Libya’s representative to the Security Council contained many misleading claims. The letter concluded by requesting the Council to take certain measures against the Libyan National Army despite its legitimate military operations against terrorist groups aligned with the Chadian armed opposition’s mercenaries, Benghazi Defense Brigades, Ansar al-Sharia, Ansar al-Haq and remnant elements of Shura Councils which escaped from Benghazi, Ajdabiya and Derna,” said Al-Qatrani.
Elmajerbi’s letter was aimed to “distort the legitimate and necessary operations of the Libyan National Army in the south,” He said, “In contrast, [the letter] is an attempt to legitimize the ill-fated terrorist and subversive groups in the south and depict them as forces of the Government of National Accord.”
Al-Qatrani pointed out that the Tripoli-based government “does not have any regular forces, but rather uses militias and mercenaries to remain in power and survive, in clear violation of security arrangements, by using public funds to win the loyalty of militias.”
“The army operations are based on the legitimacy which the Libyan National Army was granted by the House of Representatives, the constitutional declaration and the Libyan legislation in force,” He said.
Al-Qatrani also pointed out that the army operations came in response to “the demands and appeals of people, dignitaries and sheikhs of southern Libya in all cities and villages,”
“They complain of crimes and brutality of terrorist organizations and foreign mercenaries, which commit the most heinous crimes against people such as killing, intimidation, kidnapping for ransom, demographic change as well as the acts of terror and deliberate abuse of the people of the South.” He added.
Al-Qatrani explained that these mercenaries used the south of Libya as a starting point to destabilize the security and stability of regional countries. He said these mercenaries are using Libya’s south as a proxy war in favor of some regional parties.
Al-Qatrani stressed that Elmajerbi’s letter represents only certain individuals within the Presidential Council. He said those individuals “monopolize the political agreement” for themselves. They abuse the powers of the Council for their own interests which deviate from the public interest.
“Since the Libyan representative to the Security Council claimed that the letter came in accordance with the orders of the Government of National Accord, this required me, in the frame of legal, national and historical responsibility, to respond to what was stated therein.”
Al-Qatrani concluded his statement by saying that Elmajerbi’s letter was issued “without consensus” and “came in response to pressure from some regional and international parties.” He said these parties “play harmful and negative roles against Libya and its unity” by using the country’s southern region as a platform to “destabilize Libya’s security and stability.”