Warlord Haftar's forces 'have days to reopen vital road'

Libya warlord Khalifa Haftar's forces 'have days to reopen vital road'
2 min read
29 July, 2021
The Misrata-Sirte Road is vital for commerce and was shut following warlord Khalifa Haftar's unsuccessful attempt to take Tripoli, Libya's capital city, two years ago.
Khalifa Haftar's forces have a deadline of Saturday to restart the route [FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images]

Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar's forces have until Saturday to reopen a critical coastal road that connects the east and west of the country.

The Misrata-Sirte Road was shuttered following Haftar's unsuccessful attempt to take Tripoli, Libya's capital city, two years ago, the Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday.

East Libya remains in the hands of Haftar forces, while the west is under the control of the UN-backed government with the highway seen as vital for commerce and reuniting the divided country.

"We sent a letter to the 5 + 5 Libyan Joint Military Commission giving them until Saturday [to tell Haftar's forces] to open the coastal road," Sirte-Jafra Operations Room spokesperson Abd Al-Hadi Darah informed Anadolu.

The commission is composed of five representatives from the government and five from Haftar's forces.

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It was not clear on which date the message to the Joint Military Commission (JMC) was sent.

Libya's military said in June it would reopen its section of the strategic road, although the segment controlled by Haftar's forces remains closed.

At the time, spokesperson Darah said the deal would "alleviate the suffering of the citizens, and give [Haftar] a deadline to withdraw the Russian Wagner mercenaries".

Despite this, he suggested the Misrata-Sirte route could be shuttered again if Haftar's militia does not reopen its section of the coastal highway.

Darah blamed the JMC for the crisis and urged it to hand over the names of those keeping the road closed.

He also said the JMC had been unable to get foreign fighters out of Libya.

This latest news on the comes as Haftar and Libya's Prime Minister Abdel Rahman Dbeibah are soon set to meet in the eastern city of Benghazi.

This follows Egyptian mediation and a deal concluded between the two sides, according to sources who spoke with The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.