Libyan National Army Head: EU Desire to Keep Migrants in Libya 'Not Acceptable'

© REUTERS / Ismail ZitounyMigrants ride in a boat after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard off the coast of Gharaboli, east of Tripoli, Libya July 8, 2017
Migrants ride in a boat after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard off the coast of Gharaboli, east of Tripoli, Libya July 8, 2017 - Sputnik International
The European Union wants those migrants who are attempting to reach the continent from the Libyan coast to remain within Libya's borders, something which is unacceptable, Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In July, Prime Minister of Libya's Government of National Accord in Tripoli Fayez Sarraj asked Italy to provide technical assistance and send its military ships to the Libyan shores to jointly combat human trafficking. On August 2, the Italian government decided to send a naval mission to support the Libyan coastguard in preventing migrants' boats from leaving the country.

Haftar, who backs the elected parliament in Tobruk, denounced the move saying his ships would attack foreign vessels that enter Libyan waters.

Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - Sputnik International
Libyan National Army to Keep Fighting Terrorists to Liberate Country - Haftar

"Europe wants migrants to stay on our territory. And that is not acceptable," Haftar said during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, adding that the country lacked resources to properly control the migration process.

"We have people, but lack other resources. We need additional funding and equipment," Haftar said.

Libya has been suffering from a civil war since 2011 when long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. The country’s eastern regions are governed by the elected parliament backed by the LNA, and headquartered in the city of Tobruk. Besides, the Government of National Accord, formed with the support from the United Nations and Europe and headed by Sarraj, operates in the country’s west, including the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Moscow has been providing support for the regulation of the crisis in Libya and has repeatedly said it was ready to cooperate with all the interested Libyan parties.

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