By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 1 March 2015:
Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni’s government has added its voice to the growing Libyan outrage at . . .[restrict]comments made by the British Ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, about the situation in Libya.
Speaking in an interview with Al Arabiya TV, the ambassador had said that Misratan forces were the only people fighting IS in Libya, that no arms should be supplied to fight the terrorists until there was an government of national unity and that Khalifa Hafter had proved unable so far to control Benghazi.
The remarks about Misrata and IS have particularly incensed many Libyan supporters of the House of Representatives who point out that the Libya army and Operation Dignity forces have been fighting IS in Benghazi’s Leithi district and, albeit less so, around Derna. They claim too that IS has been supported by Libya Dawn, at least half the forces of which come from Misrata.
In a statement issued today, the Beida-based government charged that the ambassador’s speech indicated that the UK was now supporting Libya Dawn.
“These statements confirm the British position against legitimacy in Libya as represented by the House of Representatives and its government. Additionally, the interview shows clear support for the so-called Dawn”, the government statement read.
It challenged Lyall Grant’s view about Misrata fighting IS.
“The Libyan army is the only one that is fighting extremist and terrorist groups of Daesh and their allied armed groups, despite an arms embargo which has not yet been lifted”.
At the end of the statement, the government made a call for an end to the embargo, saying that the international community would be responsible for each drop of Libyan blood (if arms were not provided to fight the extremists).
Lyall Grant’s comments, particularly in reference to Misrata and IS, are seen by many observers as misinformed and exacerbating the growing alienation among many Libyans towards the British government.
The UK has, however, firmly denied that it is drifting towards support of Libya Dawn or the Hassi administration. It insists it recognises only the HoR and the Thinni government and that Hassi and the continuing General National Congress have no political legitimacy.
Yesterday evening, in what is being seen as an attempt to diffuse the growing row, UK ambassador to Libya Michael Aron tweeted: “UK welcomes Libyan army efforts to fight ISIL. Hopes all Libyans will join struggle against barbaric extremists”.
It has drawn mixed reactions in the social media sphere. [/restrict]