11:41 GMT21 February 2020
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    BEIRUT (Sputnik) - The operation of Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tripoli, where the UN-supported Government of National Accord is based, will not affect plans to hold fair and democratic election in Libya, Bayda-based Interim Government's foreign minister in eastern Libya Abdel Hadi Khweish told Sputnik.

    "The elections will take place and we insist on respect for the political process based on democratic principles… We are counting on real elections without fear and embezzlement of votes, on respect for the results, fair counting of votes, excluding the hegemony of armed groups that scare citizens and manipulate their choices and do not respect their desires," Khweish said.

    READ MORE: Libya's Only Functioning Airport Closed Due to Airstrike — Reports

    According to him, Haftar's forces will capture Tripoli soon and "the operation will end quickly, as the Libyan people made this decision, and the army only implements it."

    He went on to note that "Libyans are tired of violations of freedoms, prisons, murder, abductions, violence and crimes… Libya will stand on the right track after the end of the operation and will become a positive and effective member of the international community." 

    The remarks come after last week, Haftar announced an offensive against Tripoli in a bid to oust "militias" from the city. On 7 April, forces loyal to the UN-backed and Tripoli-based GNA said that they were launching a counteroffensive operation, dubbed Volcano of Rage.

    The administration in the east is supported by LNA, which has long been fighting against Islamist militants. The United Nations has proposed a general vote in Libya this spring to elect legitimate and nationally-recognized authorities.


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    Islamist militants, GNA, Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, Tripoli, Libya
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