On April 27th, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army made a televised address to the nation.
Statements such as this from him are rare, and this is the second one he does in less than 7 days.
In short, all prospects for a political solution in Libya are mostly dead and buried.
In his appeal, Haftar announced the breakdown of the Shkeirat Agreements of 2015, which became the basis for the creation of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the beginning of peace negotiations between the parties to the conflict.
Haftar said that in accordance with the wishes of the people, the Libyan army takes on the role of governing the country and promised to free the country from terrorists.
“Free Libyans! We pay tribute to you for your solidarity with and support for your armed forces and the renewal of your trust in its commander, officers, and soldiers while they proceed with their continuous victories to liberate the country from terrorism.
The armed forces could not have achieved these victories without the trust of the Libyan people, due to the sacrifices of your officers and soldiers with their lives and blood, to ensure the safety of the country and for Libyans to live free on their own soil.
Free Libyans! We have followed up your response to our call to you to announce the fall of the Political Agreement, which has destroyed the country and led it to the abyss, and to authorize those you consider eligible to lead this stage.”
Haftar essentially said that the military would take control of the country’s governance, and not he, himself, specifically as MSM would suggest:
“We express our honor to the Libyan people for authorizing the General Command to undertake this historic mission under the current exceptional circumstances, and their revocation of the Political Agreement to be part of the past according to the decision of the Libyan people—the source of all authority. We thus announce that the General Command of the Armed Forces accepts the will of the people despite the burden of that trust, multiplicity of obligations, and the magnitude of responsibilities before God, our people, and conscience and history.
We shall always remain at the disposal of the Libyan people and will not spare any effort to stop their suffering. Serving the citizens, protecting their rights, realizing their hopes and aspirations, and harnessing all the resources for the exigencies of the public good—shall always be our foremost priority. We will work towards creating the conditions for building durable institutions of the civil state according to the will and ambitions of the Libyan people while completing the march of liberation until full success is achieved, God Willing!”
Haftar “no longer seeks to conceal his ontempt for a political solution and democracy in Libya,” GNA adviser Mohammed Ali Abdallah was quoted as saying in response.
Mohammed Ali Abdallah, further said:
“Haftar has once more exposed his authoritarian intentions to the world. He no longer seeks to conceal his contempt for a political solution and democracy in Libya.”
The Government of National Accord itself issued the following statement in response:
“The obsession with power and stupidity has reached its full limit. He announces a new coup, thereby complementing the series of first-timers in which he took part since ancient times. This step of the war criminal did not surprise us at all. This was expected in light of the failure of his adventure to capture the capital the Rebel [Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar] even opposed those who supported him all these years …
We appeal to all members of the House of Representatives to join their colleagues in Tripoli in order to start a comprehensive dialogue on the road to democracy and solve everything through the ballot box. We extend a hand to all the deceived sons of Libya, especially in the east, so that they know about the true intention of the aggressor, who seeks power at their expense, blood and souls. Once again, we urge them to lay down their arms and take the right side.”
The United States Embassy in Libya also published a statement, saying that Haftar’s proclamation was regretful.
“The United States regrets Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Haftar’s suggestion that changes to Libya’s political structure can be imposed by unilateral declaration. The Embassy nevertheless welcomes any opportunity to engage LNA commander Haftar and all parties in serious dialogue about how the country can move forward. As civilians continue to suffer during the holy month of Ramadan and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens more lives, we urge the LNA to join the Government of National Accord in declaring an immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities leading to a lasting ceasefire as formulated in 5+5 talks under UNSMIL facilitation on February 23 in Geneva.”
Now, the House of Representatives, based in Tobruk, essentially faces a choice: to support the Field Marshal [and the military], giving him political legitimacy or not, and thereby confront him.
No statement has been released as of yet, and it should be reminded that up until now Haftar always said that the LNA fights on behalf of the House of Representatives.
Just days earlier, on April 23rd he called on Libyans to abandon the Shkeirat agreements. The council has undermined the dignity of the people, relinquished the sovereignty of the state and destroyed its economy, he said in a televised address. It has also employed oil revenues in supporting militias and bringing in mercenaries.
“[GNA President Fayez] al-Sarraj’s joy will not last,” vowed Haftar. “The LNA has defeated terrorism in Benghazi, Derna, the oil crescent region and central and southern Libya and it will continue its fight in Tripoli,” he declared.
The Shkeirat Agreements, signed in 2015, are considered by the UN as the basis for a political settlement in Libya. The document was signed by representatives of the main Libyan factions.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Haftar’s Forces Appear To Have Upper Hand As EU’s Operation IRINI Begins
- Libyan Army Shells Airport Hosting Turkish Troops Near Tripoli
- Field Marshal Haftar Addresses The Nation As Opposing GNA Pumps Out Dubious Propaganda