February 12, 2020 / 8:27 PM / 6 days ago

Haftar's forces ban U.N. from using Tripoli airport

FILE PHOTO: Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar meets Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (not pictured) at the Parliament in Athens, Greece, January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar will not allow the United Nations to use the only functioning airport in the capital Tripoli which they have been trying to take in a campaign, a force spokesman said on Wednesday.

Force spokesman Ahmed Mismari told reporters the U.N. would have to use other airports such as Misrata because it could not guarantee the safety of flights into Tripoli Mitiga airport as Turkey was using it as base.

The U.N. mission to Libya earlier on Wednesday accused Haftar’s forces of blocking flights carrying U.N. staff to Libya.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Alaa Swilam; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Sandra Maler

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