Haftar warns against foreign military presence in Libya to stem migration

The Libyan General Command said that such steps would be considered a ‘clear violation of international law and a blatant aggression on Libyan sovereignty’

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has warned against an international presence in Libya to stem migration
Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has warned against an international presence in Libya to stem migration

The General Command of the Libyan armed forces has issued a warning to international parties that it would not allow the establishment of a military presence in southern Libya on the pretext of confronting illegal immigration.

Thursday’s European Council summit led to a draft agreement, which foresees, among other things, the establishment of disembarkation platforms outside Europe in order to stem migrant flows to the Libya’s northern coast

The General Command, led by general Khalifa Haftar, said in a statement on Friday that such steps "would be considered a flagrant violation of the rules of international law and a blatant attack on the Libyan state and its sovereignty on its territory."

The statement comes a day after an Italian security and military delegation visited the city of Ghat in the south-west of Libya on Thursday, together with an Italian army engineering team and a number of experts to inspect an Italian military and civilian outpost off Chad and Niger.

Libya affirmed that it would take “all measures” to protect the Libyan state, its borders, its people, its institutions and its economic capabilities, in prevention of any violation of its national sovereignty, within the framework of implementing its obligations under the constitutional declaration and national laws.

Smugglers have taken advantage of the turmoil in Libya since the 2011 fall of Muammar Qaddafi to establish the country as a major people-trafficking hub.

Italy closed its ports earlier in June and refused to receive a ship belonging to an international organization that rescues migrants in the Mediterranean, with 600 migrants aboard, leading to a standoff with Malta, which was ultimately resolved when Spain stepped in an offered to take the migrants itself.

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