On December 22nd, the Libyan National Army extended the deadline it gave to the National of Government Accord’s forces by another 3 days.
The LNA spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari announced the extension in a video, published on Facebook.
بيان من القيادة العامة بشأن عمليات عسكرية
Posted by الناطق الرسمي باسم القيادة العامة للقوات المسلحة العربية الليبية on Sunday, December 22, 2019
The deadline for the withdrawal of all GNA forces from Tripoli and Sirte was due on mid-day December 22nd, but was later extended until midnight on December 25th, giving the troops and militias on the side of the UN-assigned government more time to presumably withdraw.
This announcement came just 1 day after the LNA spokesperson said that the deadline wouldn’t be extended.
On December 21st, US State Department expressed its concern over the escalating conflict in Libya.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that the US was “concerned” by a request for military support by the GNA. The US is also concerned about the LNA “threat to use foreign-supplied air assets and mercenaries.”
“External military intervention threatens prospects for resolving the conflict. We deplore attacks on innocent civilians and call on all sides to refrain from escalation,” Ortagus said.
Concerned about #Libya. External military intervention threatens prospects for peace. United States deplores attacks on innocent civilians and calls on all sides to refrain from escalation. Only a political settlement will resolve the conflict. pic.twitter.com/99aNpKKQkc
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) December 21, 2019
Greece also appears to be making moves, as Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias went to Benghazi, Libya on December 22nd. He met with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the LNA’s commander and discussed the agreements Turkey signed with the GNA.
Dendias visited Egypt, as well as Cyprus, following that. He met with the foreign ministers of both countries and it appears that there is some sort of coordination taking place against Turkey’s movements in Libya.
Dendias was asked if the EastMed deal signing was an answer to Turkey’s deal with Libya.
“What we’re doing is not in reaction to anything,” he said. “It’s an effort to improve the quality of life of our countries’ citizens, to improve our economies and to offer solutions, and EastMed is a great energy boost to the European Union’s energy options.
“We don’t see our initiatives as being directed against anyone,” he added. “We see them as positive steps, and we invite whomever to take part as long as they agree with the wider framework.”
Christodoulides, however, said there is a need to counter Turkey’s recent actions.
“We have common goals and approaches and I believe that the proper framework is being created to counter the actions of some who wish to create conditions of instability in the eastern Mediterranean by violating international law,” he said.
“All countries which perceive international law as the natural state of things are welcome to take part in our common initiatives,” Dendias added.
On Turkey’s side, its parliament ratified the military cooperation deal with the GNA on December 21st.
Ankara has already sent military supplies to Libya, according to a report by United Nations’ experts.
The GNA said in a statement on December 19th that its cabinet had “unanimously approved the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation between the GNA and the Turkish government signed on November 27”.
Currently, the situation inside Libya remains somewhat stable, with Tripoli besieged and the ultimatum provided by the LNA was extended until midnight on December 25th.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Military Situation In Libya On December 22, 2019 (Map Update)
- In Video: LNA Seizes Turkish-Manned Vessel Off Libya’s Coast