Libya’s Military Commander, Khalifa Haftar’s forces have dismissed a ceasefire announcement by the North African country’s internationally recognized government as a “marketing” stunt.
Ahmed Mismari, spokesman for General Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), at a media briefing on Sunday, said rival forces from the country’s west are mobilizing around front lines in the centre of the country.
He said the eastern-based forces are ready to respond to any attempted attack on its positions around the coastal city of Sirte and Jufra, further inland.
Mismari’s comments were the first by the LNA after the announcement on Friday of a ceasefire and a call for the resumption of oil production by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
“The initiative that al-Sarraj signed is for media marketing,” Mismari said. “There is a military build-up and the transfer of equipment to target our forces in Sirte,” he added.
“If al-Sarraj wanted a ceasefire, he would have drawn his forces back, not advanced towards our units in Sirte” Mismari said.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Libya’s High Council of State, an advisory body to the GNA, vehemently rejected any dialogue with Haftar.
In a statement, it emphasized the need to end the “state of insurgency” in the country through an immediate ceasefire and the need to enable the government to take control over all of Libyan soil.
“Any dialogue or agreement should be under the Libyan political agreement, which regulated the mechanism of dialogue to be only between elected bodies,” it added.
Fighting in Libya between the two factions has gone relatively quiet in the past two months, but previous ceasefire attempts have fallen apart with each side accusing the other of violating agreements.