Tue, 08 Dec 2020 - 12:28 GMT
A spokesman for the Libyan National Army(LNA), Ahmed Al-Mismari - AFP
CAIRO - 8 December 2020: Spokesman for the Libyan National Army (LNA), Ahmed Al-Mismari, said that a ship flying the Jamaican flag coming from Turkey towards Misurata was intercepted by the Libyan navy, while sailing in a restricted area.
Mismari added, in exclusive statements to Egypt Today, that the ship was sailing from east to west, and it entered the Libyan territorial waters near the head of the crescent in the Green Mountain, an area where sailing without prior permission is prohibited even for Libyan fishing boats.
The Libyan military official explained that as soon as the ship entered the restricted area, it was intercepted after the ship’s crew refused to answer the Libyan Navy's calls. The naval forces then entered the ship to inspect it, where they found 9 Turks, 3 Indians, and 2 Azerbaijanis.
Mesmari pointed out that the ship had health equipment, and that the ship has so far remained in the port of Ras Al-Hilal until investigations with its crew conclude. The crew consists of 17 sailors, 9 of whom are Turks.
In the same context, Commander of the combat marine company in Sousse, Muhammad Al-Majdoub, confirmed that the interception came in implementation of the instructions of the General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to monitor the Libyan coasts and the restricted areas.
The Government of National Accord (GNA) and LNA signed a ceasefire deal in October and the United Nations has been pushing a political dialogue aimed at holding elections in 2021 as a solution to Libya's long-running conflict. But both sides have stopped short of withdrawing forces from the front line, as demanded by the truce, while an incident in southern Libya on Dec. 6, when LNA forces seized a military camp, has further tested the agreement.
Earlier on Dec.7, Mismari accused Turkey of continuing to supply arms and fighters to the GNA. The LNA is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
In December 2019, Turkey signed with the GNA, which is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations, two MoUs on defense, and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
The maritime border agreement was rejected by several countries such as Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, and the UAE and described as an illegal act that violated the sovereignty of other Mediterranean states.
Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt have strongly criticized the Turkish agreement with the Tripoli-based government in Libya that would allow Turkey to claim a large swathe of the Mediterranean, infringing the sovereign rights of regional neighbors.
Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Turkey is implementing a military deployment to Libya to shore up the UN-backed government while LNA is backed by Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.