The British government confirmed its support for the internationally-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, while expressing its support for the ongoing ceasefire efforts in the country.
This came during a telephone conversation between the British minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly, and the GNA’s minister of foreign affairs, Mohamed Taher Siala, according to a statement issued by the Libyan Foreign Ministry on Thursday evening.
The ministry indicated that Cleverly stressed during the phone call that his country: “Stands by the legitimate government’s side, and supports the ceasefire implementation efforts.”
The two ministers deliberated over the latest developments regarding the battles on the ground, and discussed: “A sustainable ceasefire, as well as the harsh humanitarian and economic conditions facing the Libyans.”
Cleverly confirmed his country’s support to Libya in its efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to take into consideration the fragile situation in the country.
As of Friday, Libya has recorded 49 cases of infection with COVID-19, 11 recoveries, and one death.
Although commander of the Libyan National Army, General Khalifa Haftar announced on 21 March his adherence to the truce in order to focus on efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the eastern forces continue to carry out an offensive that has been launched since 4 April, 2019, to control the capital of Tripoli, the seat of the GNA.
In response to Haftar’s violation of the armistice, the GNA forces launched on 26 March, Operation Peace Storm against the eastern army, in light of the ongoing conflict over legitimacy and authority in the oil-rich country.
Since the launch of Operation Peace Storm, the GNA forces managed to liberate six cities and two strategic zones that have been controlled earlier by Haftar’s militias, most notably Sabratha and Surman, enabling Al-Sarraj’s government to control the entire western coast of the country to the Tunisian border.