The Libyan army said the militia loyal to Putist General Khalifa Haftar has a deadline of Saturday to resume the strategic coastal road that connects the country to the east and west.
“We sent a letter to 5 + 5 Libya’s Joint Military Commission giving them until Saturday (to inform Haftar’s militia) to open the coastal road,” Abdel-Hadi Darah, a spokesman for the Sirte-Jufra Operations Room, told Anadolu Agency (AA).
The Joint Military Committee comprises five members from the internationally recognized government and five from the Haftar militia.
The Misrata-Sirte coastal road is an important trade route that has been closed since Haftar’s militia launched a failed offensive to capture the capital Tripoli in 2019.
On June 6, the Libyan army announced the reopening of their side of the coastal road despite Haftar’s failure to replace the move.
At the time, Darah told the AA that an agreement to resume the Misrata-Sirte road was reached to “alleviate the suffering of the citizens and give the other party (Haftar) a deadline to withdraw the Russian Wagner mercenaries.”
However, Darah threatened to close the road again “if the road is not opened from the other side.”
He held the 5 + 5 Libyan Joint Military Commission responsible for everything that happened and called on it “to name the obstacles to the opening of the road and free the Libyans from suffering.”
The spokesman said that the military commission has so far not succeeded in removing the mercenaries from the country.
On October 23, the UN announced a permanent ceasefire agreement between Libya’s warring rivals during its facilitated 5 + 5 Libya Joint Military Commission talks in Geneva.
The agreement also demanded that all mercenaries be withdrawn from Libya within three months of signing. The deadline expired on January 23.
Libya has witnessed a positive development in recent months following a breakthrough after rival parties on February 5 agreed on a unified new executive that will steer Libya in the lead in national elections on December 24.
Libyans hope the new government will end years of civil war that have plagued the country since the death and killing of strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.