By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 28 February 2015:
Comments about the situation in Libya made in a TV interview by the British Ambassador . . .[restrict]to the UN have drawn a stinging rebuff from his Libyan counterpart. Ibrahim Dabbashi has accused Sir Mark Lyall Grant of not knowing his facts about Libya and that his views and the position the UK was taking about arming Libya to fight the Islamic State (IS) were damaging Britain’s standing in Libyan eyes.
In an interview with Al Arabiya TV, Lyall Grant was reported to have repeated the British view that before Libya could be supplied with weapons to fight IS it must first agree to a government of national unity. He also was reported to have said that the Misratans were the only force fighting IS and that Khalifa Hafter had proved unable so far to control Benghazi.
If a national unity government were appointed as a result of the UN-brokered dialogue process, Libya would be given the arms needed to attack and destroy IS, Lyall Grant suggested. He also claimed that, following the House of Representatives’ (HoR’s) decision to withdraw from the dialogue, Egypt had said that it would call on the HoR to change its mind.
He was speaking in English in the televised interview but there is voiceover translation in Arabic and it is almost impossible to hear his actual words in English.
What he is reported as saying suggests he is unaware that the IS Battar Brigade is present in Benghazi’s Leithi district and, according to local residents, is now the main force there fighting the Operations Dignity and the Libyan army.
Dabbashi said that Lyall Grant did not realise that IS and the Misratans were both part of the same Libya Dawn. As such, he claimed, Misrata was supporting terrorism.
Omar Gawairi, the head of the Libyan government’s information authority, has also condemned Lyall Grant’s TV statement. [/restrict]