On Saturday a spokesman for Khalifa Haftar's forces ruled out a UN call to return to the negotiating table, saying a military solution is the best way to resolve the conflict.
"The battle (for Tripoli) is in its final phases," LNA spokesman General Ahmed al-Mesmari told a press conference in the United Arab Emirates. "When the guns speak, diplomacy goes silent. The time of going back to dialogue is over," he said. "The military solution is the best solution to spread security and reimpose the law."
Days earlier, al-Mismari had dismissed the internationally-recognised prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, as powerless and negotiations as futile. “The man was unable to sign a single paper,” he said of Sarraj. “He would always give the excuse that he needed to hold consultations. We’ve exhausted all good offices.” Continuing on he said it wouldn’t be possible to overhaul key institutions without a Haftar victory.
“Now we need to reform people’s morals and correct sick minds and this needs a rifle and a prison,” he said of rivals in Tripoli. “But after a national unity government takes hold, and the state is set up, many matters will be brought up.”
The UN says neither side has a chance of winning and has been pushing for an international conference in September to cement a cease-fire followed by talks that would reform the country’s financial institutions, including the central bank.
Mismari’s comments reflect the difficulties the United Nations faces in bringing the sides to the table and ending a conflict that has drawn in regional and international powers vying to shape the future of the oil-rich country. Sarraj’s government has ruled out talks with Haftar.