Libya's UN-backed Govt Appeals To Europe Against Haftar
Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) appealed Tuesday for Europe's support against military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is waging an offensive on Tripoli, warning continued violence could see 800,000 people try to flee to the West
He said Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini "shows big support for the peace process" and brushed off reports France favoured Haftar, saying "the position of the French government is to support the national accord government".
But he repeated warnings that the offensive by Haftar's forces could spark an exodus of displaced Libyans and migrants.
Some "800,000 people can easily reach Europe," he said, adding that Islamic State group fighters currently held as prisoners could be among them.
There were "more than 400 (IS) prisoners" in Libya whose whereabouts could not be secured should Haftar push on to take the capital, he said.
"These prisoners are terrorists and we were working with the international community to keep them and hold them. At the same time we see some international partners, our international team players, supporting the attack and supporting Haftar.
"This is something not understandable for the GNA," he said.
"There is no agreement on keeping the migrants in Libya at all. Zero. The agreement was to prepare the Libyan coastguard... that is it." The accord for Italy to train Libya's coastguard -- signed in a bid to end Europe's biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War -- saw a significant drop in the flow of African migrants across the central Mediterranean.
Libya has long been a major transit country for migrants desperate to reach Europe via the Mediterranean.
International aid groups have warned migrants could be used as human shields or forcibly recruited to fight.
Libya has been in turmoil since NATO-backed forces overthrew former dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
Haftar, who leads the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), has pushed out from his power base in the country's east towards the Libyan capital in the west, the seat of the UN-backed unity government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.