Head of the Libyan National Army field marshal Khalifa Haftar has said Libya is at war and has to protect its borders from illegal migrants, terrorists and extremists.
“We are still at war and the country needs to control its borders. We have borders with Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt and illegal migration comes from all sides,” Haftar told Libyan media in Palermo, according to ANSA news agency. He called on the leaders of these countries to control their own borders and not to allow illegal migrants, terrorists, extremists and radicals to cross into the country.
The military commander is in Palermo, which hosts an international high-level conference on Libya. However, the Libyan National Army Command said Haftar had come there to meet with representatives of the bordering states and concerned parties to discuss the events in Libya and on the international arena rather than to take part in the forum.
Earlier, Palermo hosted a high-level meeting involving Haftar, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Head of the National Accord Government Fayez al-Sarraj, and also a number of representatives of some countries and the United Nations.
According to some sources, the talks were attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and also European Council President Donald Tusk.
Italy has earlier denied that during the conference, which brought together 38 delegations, another meeting would be held. According to Al Arabiya TV channel, Haftar has left Palermo and headed to Libya’s Benghazi.
The high-level international conference on the Libyan settlement has been held in Italy’s Palermo since Monday. The forum was initiated by the Italian government and personally by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. It involves high-ranking delegations of North African countries of the Mediterranean Region, Russia, the United States and Libya.