Libyan east-based army denies blocking UN planes

Haftar forces ban UN flights to embattled capital Tripoli

Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar

TRIPOLI, Feb 14 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The east-based Libyan National Army (LNA) denied blocking United Nations planes from landing in the country:

It follows claims that forces loyal to eastern commander, Khalifa Haftar were hampering the UN’s aid and peace efforts.

“You (Salame) can use Misrata Airport, it is open for civil and private flights, and it receives dozens of flights daily” said, LNA spokesperson, Brigadier General Ahmed al-Mosmari.

The United Nations Mission to Libya, in a statement issued on Wednesday morning, expressed regret that its regular flights flying staff to and from Libya did not obtain permission to land.

It added that the matter was repeated on several occasions over the past few weeks.

A weak UN-recognized administration that holds the capital Tripoli and parts of the country’s west is backed by Turkey, which recently sent thousands of soldiers to Libya.

On the other side of the conflict is a rival government in the east that supports Hafter, whose forces launched a surprise offensive to capture the capital last April.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi who was later killed.

On Wednesday, the UN’s Security Council endorsed a 55-point road map for ending the war in Libya. It also condemned the recent increase in violence in the oil-rich North African nation. — NNN-AGENCIES