Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar who dis-missed a series of UN-led talks to bridge differences between Libya’s two rival administrations and who does not recognize the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, said Sunday that the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) brokered by the UN is outdated and the institutions associated to it have lost le-gitimacy.
December 17 marks the end of the LPA and the Presidential Council (PC) and its aligned Government of National Accord (GNA) no longer represent Libyans, Haftar said at a military graduation ceremony.
The LPA reached under the UN aegis in Skhirat in December 2015, established a transitional central government, the GNA, for one year. The GNA mandate, renewable only once, ends this December.
Several voices have decried Haftar’s statements as a blow to the democratic process.
Tripoli’s Nawasi brigade has condemned Haftar’s declaration as a “coup against the democratic process” and an attempt to destroy the peaceful transfer of power.
Hafter was “foiling all international, local and Arab efforts” to restore stability in Libya, Nawasi said, declaring its “total rejection of these statements”, reports the Libya Herald.
UN Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, responded to Haftar’s comments by calling on all Libyan sides to refrain from actions that could undermine the political process.
Libyans are fed up with violence and aspire to a political solu-tion, to reconciliation and to harmony, the UN official was quoted by the Libya Herald as saying.
UNSMIL was “intensively trying to establish the proper politi-cal, legislative and security conditions for elections to be held before the end of 2018,” he said.
Last September, the UN Special Envoy unveiled an action plan, setting elections for late next year. The UN last week re-iterated its support to the LPA, noting that it was the only po-litical roadmap towards the organization of elections.
Hashem Bishr, the powerful Tripoli commander and security advisor to the Presidency Council, also underlined the “necessity” of holding parliamentary elections. There had to be “elections and nothing other than elections,” he said following Haftar’s statements.
Haftar, who is accused of receiving backing from some foreign powers and of trying to impose autocratic rule in Libya, also announced Sunday that he would consider calls from his peo-ple to stand for president as the country entered a “danger-ous” period.
The general whose troops control part of the war-torn nation claimed that his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army forces are now devoted to assist the Libyan people all across the country to regain the sovereignty and respect of their state among other countries in the world.
Khalifa Haftar made the Sunday comment, few days after he met with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano in Rome.
Haftar is a dual Libyan-US citizen who was once loyal to Muammar Gaddafi but then rebelled against the dictator. He was provided protection by the CIA in the 1990s and was granted US citizenship.