By Michel Cousins.
Malta, 20 February 2016:
Tripoli prime minister Khalifa Ghwell says he is happy with yesterday’s US attack on Islamic State . . .[restrict](IS/Daesh) members in Sabratha in which some 42 of them were killed. “But we want more cooperation with the international community” to defeat them, he told the Libya Herald this evening in Malta.
In contrast, the Thinni government in Beida has condemned the raid as a violation of Libyan sovereignty. Neither it nor the House of Representatives had been informed or agreed to the attack it said in a statement today. It too, however, called for more cooperation in confronting IS.
Ghwell was attending a function this evening organised by his embassy to Malta to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the revolution.
“Daesh is a criminal, terrorist group, ” he said. “We need international support so we can eliminate these terrorists.”
That support had to be logistical as well as an end to the arms embargo and the freeze on Libyan assets. “We are the only people fighting Daesh. No body else, certainly not Hafter”, he claimed, adding that “we ‘re planning to launch an offensive against it in Sirte within a few days.”
The world, he said, was only now talking about fighting Daesh. “We’ve been doing that for some time.” His forces currently had 5,000 troops around the town, he said.
What was needed was resources, particularly new weapons. The ones used by the military at present were too old, he said.
As to arms going to IS, he firmly denied reports that many went from Turkey to Misrata and then by boat to Sirte and Benghazi. “There is no proof of that,” he insisted.
He was confident, he added, that a solution to the Libyan crisis would be found through an internal dialogue. The country’s problems were caused by those “who want to destroy the revolution”, he claimed. But the Libyan people supported it. They had showed it by going out onto the streets to celebrate it this week. They had not been pressurised or paid to do so, he said. [/restrict]