Middle East

Qatar calls for arms embargo against Libya’s Haftar

MILAN (Reuters) – Qatar’s foreign minister has called for an effective arms embargo against eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar and for his troops to withdraw from areas they have occupied, Italian daily La Repubblica said on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani also told the newspaper in an interview he was pleased to be told by his French counterpart that Paris was working to ensure a planned national reconciliation conference on Libya goes ahead.

Regional powers have sided with opposing camps that have vied for power in Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran strongman leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Asked how the conflict can be stopped, Sheikh Mohammed said: “By rendering effective the embargo against Haftar and preventing those countries that have supplied him with munitions and state-of-the-art weapons from continuing to do so,” according to an Italian translation of his comments.

He later referred to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – three countries which severed ties with Qatar in 2017 in a regional dispute.

Egypt and the UAE are considered main supporters of Haftar, who has built his position battling Islamist militants and other opponents in eastern Libya. East Libyan authorities say Qatar backs rival, Islamist-leaning factions in western Libya.

Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Angus MacSwan

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