CAIRO (Reuters) - Libya’s recognized government will continue a military campaign to claim back the capital Tripoli, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said on Wednesday.
Libya is divided between two governments since a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in August after a month-long battle with a rival group, setting up its own parliament and government.
Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni has been forced to work from the East where the elected House of Representatives is also based, part of turmoil three years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
Thinni told Dubai-based TV channel al-Arabiya his forces were advancing on Tripoli from the west and would also seize the main border crossing to Tunisia.
“Our troops are moving towards Tripoli to liberate it,” he said, claiming his forces had seized a town west of the capital. Thinni’s forces, allied to a former general and tribesmen in Zintan in the western mountains, have launched air strikes on Tripoli.
The rival Tripoli government, accused by its opponents of relying on Islamists, says Egypt and the United Arab Emirates help Thinni with the air strikes.
Thinni has denied this.
When asked whether Saudi Arabia and the UAE were offering humanitarian assistance, Thinni said in the television interview: “Our brothers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and our brothers in Egypt are ready to fulfill what the government and House of Representatives demand.”
On Monday, U.N. Special Envoy Bernadino Leon said he planned to launch next week a new round of peace talks to bring together both conflict parties.
Leon said talks would this time also include the rival parliament based in Tripoli to widen a dialogue which has failed to make progress.
(This story corrects reference to Saudi Arabia, UAE in paragraph 7)
Reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Cynthia Osterman