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LIBYA

Exclusive: Only military solutions will be used against terrorists, says Libya's Haftar

FRANCE 24 screengrab | Libyan General Khalifa Haftar

There will be no dialogue with "extremists" in Libya, the country's eastern commander General Khalifa Haftar vowed in an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 on Wednesday, saying that only "military solutions" could be used to defeat such groups.

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Haftar was speaking a day after he signed a landmark deal with Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Paris in which the two agreed to a ceasefire and to work towards holding elections in the heavily divided country.

However, Haftar, whose forces control much of the east of the country and have spearheaded the fight against Islamist groups such as the Islamic State group in the region, said no similar deal would be struck with "extremists".

"Military solutions shall be selected for enemies," Haftar told FRANCE 24. "For example, the Islamic State group, al Qaeda. And also extremists (such as) the Muslim Brotherhood. These are enemies, there is no doubt on that and there will be no dialogue with them."

Such groups, he said, shall be dealt with "through weapons".

Sarraj 'needs to prove himself'

Tuesday's agreement in Paris follows six years of division and uncertainty in Libya after the country plunged into chaos in the wake of the overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

But although Haftar said that there was "100 percent agreement" between himself and Sarraj "on a personal level" he did not shy away from expressing reservations about the Libyan prime minister and his Tripoli-based government, whose authority he has previously refused to acknowledge.

EN MG SOT HAFTAR o SARRAJ

"He has no authority in Tripoli. He needs to prove himself," Haftar said.

"No one can take over the city. It is the capital that belongs to all of the Libyan people and this kind of bluster is not acceptable. He is an engineer and he should stay within his competencies and away from this kind of grandstanding."

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