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Moscow Supports Haftar’s Counter-Terrorism Efforts, Salama Meets Politicians in Misrata | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Khalifa Haftar (left), the chief of the Libyan National Army, meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on August 14. TASS

Cairo- Russia had announced Tuesday that it supports the efforts exerted by Commander of Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar’s forces to combat terrorism while Haftar stressed his determination to continue the fight against terrorism until the liberation of all cities in Libya.

Haftar’s office said in a statement on Tuesday that the Russian message was received during his meeting with the Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu in the latter’s headquarter in Moscow.

The statement said that Shoigu expressed his appreciation for the great sacrifices made by the national army in the fight against terrorism and congratulated the Libyan leader and the Libyans for liberating the city of Benghazi from terrorist groups.

Shoigu stressed the Russian leadership will stand by the Libyan armed forces in their fight against terrorism in order to achieve security and stability in Libya and its regional surrounding, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), announced the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, a senior Libyan military commander allied with Khalifa Haftar.

“I filed an under seal application with Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC for a warrant of arrest to be issued against al-Werfalli, a Major in the al-Saiqa forces, on charges of murder as a war crime under the Rome Statute for his direct participation in seven separate rounds of executions, in which a total of 33 people were murdered in cold blood in Benghazi or surrounding areas,” Bensouda said in a statement.

“Such egregious crimes, including the cruel and dehumanizing manner by which they were perpetrated against helpless victims, must be stopped. Accountability for atrocity crimes is better suited to advance the ends of peace and stability, not more violence,” the statement said.

Bensouda added that the Pre-Trial Chamber granted her request and issued a warrant of arrest against al-Werfalli, and that her office’s pursuit of justice and the fight against impunity in Libya continues.

However, she expressed concern that the challenge now is the execution of the warrant of arrest and the surrender of al-Werfalli to the custody of the ICC.

Bensouda also appealed to the international community to cooperate and assist Libya, as needed, to ensure the arrest and surrender of al-Werfalli to the ICC without delay and equally called on the UNSC to support such efforts.

For his part, newly-appointed UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame visited Libya’s third largest city of Misrata on Tuesday and held talks with political and community leaders of the city.

Salame, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, met with officials of Misrata’s Municipal Council, community leaders and Misrata University students, and he discussed the city’s needs and future vision.

He also commended Misrata’s contribution to fighting terrorism, efforts to build one united, sovereign Libya and sacrifices made by the city’s residents to achieve stability and security across Libya. He stressed that Libya can emerge from the crisis despite challenges ahead.

Addressing the students in Misrata University, Salame vowed to be unbiased and to find a new mechanism for dialogue among the Libyan conflicting parties so that they reach a consensus to amend the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).