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Tunisian speaker of parliament congratulates GNA on Al Watiya airbase capture

By ANA - May 21,2020 - Last updated at May 21,2020

Speaker of the Tunisian House of Representatives Rached Ghannouchi (ANA photo)

CAPE TOWN — The speaker of Tunisia's house of representatives, Rached Ghannouchi, has congratulated Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) for recapturing the key Al Watiya airbase, reported online daily newspaper the Libya Observer.

Ghannouchi congratulated the chairman of the presidential council, Fayez Al Sarraj, in a telephonic conversation on Wednesday, during which they also discussed developments in the situation in Libya, the newspaper reported.

Ghannouchi said he was pleased that the strategically important base was now in the hands of the legitimate government. 

Earlier this week, after weeks of fighting, Libya’s UN-recognised GNA recaptured the al-Watiya airbase from the Libyan National Army, which is under the command of General Khalifa Haftar, reported Al Jazeera. 

Al Jazeera reported that the month-long counter-offensive had seen Libyan National Army forces driven out of much of Libya’s western region.

The victory along the Tunisian border will give the GNA's forces room to focus on fighting Haftar's army in southern Tripoli.

Meanwhile, the Arab Weekly reports that Tunisia’s recent moves, which include allowing Turkey to use the country’s airspace to transfer critical aid to Western Libya, are raising concerns that its relationship with eastern Libya will further deteriorate.

Haftar launched an offensive in April 2019 to gain control of the capital, Tripoli. The oil-rich nation of Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Qadhafi 2011, which has seen the displacement of hundreds of Libyans and scores killed.

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