15:11 GMT09 April 2020
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    Libya has been torn apart by two rival governments following the 2011 overthrow and assassination of the country’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi. Tensions escalated in 2019 after the Libyan National Army (LNA) began an offensive to seize the capital of Tripoli, where the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) is seated.

    In January, Berlin hosted an international conference on Libya with the participation of Russia, the United States, Turkey, Egypt and several other countries, as well as the European Union and the United Nations.

    The main outcome of the conference was an appeal by participants for a Libyan ceasefire, an obligation to refrain from international interference in the conflict and an observance of the UN arms embargo for Libya.

    The GNA Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashagha, said that key members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have certain issues in observing arms embargo strictly.

    Bashagha alleged that the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt are violating the arms ban and claimed that the UNSC cannot do anything to stop the situation.

    “Some great nations on the UN security council seem to live in fear of these small nations. In the last five years, we have noticed a change in the international community – a lack of international credibility and a refusal to keep their word”, Bashagha said, cited by The Guardian.

    Bashagha blamed Western nations for their lack of support for the GNA, according to The Guardian. Bashagha said that the GNA would step its effort to end the offensive on Tripoli currently being run by east Libya’s LNA commander, Khalifa Haftar.

    “The GNA is now under immense public pressure to push Haftar’s forces away from the capital. We don’t believe Haftar will stop shelling Tripoli, so we do not think we have any solution apart from pushing him back [...] We are not stuck militarily. We have enough forces and power to push him back”, Bashagha said.

    The ranking GNA member accused Khaftar of ruining the Libyan economy.

    "He has cost Libya $36bn in lost revenue, and printed a parallel currency in Russia that has only led to a fall in the value of the dinar for everyone”, Bashagha said, cited by The Guardian, adding that the nation, "is suffering from the lack of fair distribution of wealth, so we need to find a system for the budget to be distributed in a less centralised way”.

    Bashagha suggested that reforming the banking and public sectors was essential.

    "All these people’s salaries get paid by my ministry, even some of the fighters who fight with Haftar are paid by the GNA. We need a completely reformed system to change the economy. Most of the budget is being eaten up in salaries. The government has 1.7 million employees and that means 22bn dinar (about $16bn) is spent every year on salaries. The civil war has led everyone to head to the government to be paid", Bashagha said.

    After January's conference in Berlin, the rival parties announced a ceasefire, effectively halting the months-long LNA offensive to take the GNA-held capital. The ceasefire appears fragile, as the sides have accused each other of violating the truce.

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    Tags:
    Fathi Bashagha, Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Libyan National Army (LNA), Libya
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