Right after renegade general Khalifa Haftar declared the UN-brokered Skhirate Agreement “obsolete”, Libya’s neighbors, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt expressed support for the UN’s efforts to settle the infighting in the country.
In a statement issued following a tripartite meeting, bringing together the foreign ministers of Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, the three countries stressed that the Skhirate Agreement, signed in Morocco on 17 December 2015, represents an indispensable basis for settling the Libyan crisis.
The ministers stressed the need for “coordinated efforts between Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria” to meet the continued danger posed by terrorist groups operating in Libya, especially at a context marked by the retreat of IS in the Middle East and the increasing return of foreign fighters to the Libyan front.
The three countries reaffirmed their rejection of any foreign interventions in Libyan internal affairs, as well as all forms of escalation or hindrance to the political process in the country, read a statement issued by the Foreign Ministers following their meeting on Sunday.
The statement stressed the central role of the UN and its political and legal responsibility as the sponsor of the Libyan political dialogue, calling upon all Libyan parties to prioritize national interests and to enter in a dialogue in order to end the transitional period as soon as possible.
The main outcome of the Skhirate Agreement was the setting up of the government of national accord (GNA) for a one year-term, renewable only once.
That government’s tenure has ended on Sunday. The UN Security Council has stressed that the Skhirat Agreement should remain the only framework to resolve the current crisis in Libya, until the holding of the general elections next year.
“The 17th of December has arrived and brought with it the end of the so-called Skhirat agreement,” Haftar, who never recognized the authority of the GNA, said in a televised appearance on Sunday night
“Therefore all institutions created by this agreement are void,” he added.
Following the speech, Haftar’s supporters in Benghazi took to the streets demanding the general take over after the GNA missed what they said was a self-imposed deadline on Sunday.
In Tripoli, an unknown armed faction opened fire in the air to disperse some 150 supporters of Haftar on the central martyrs square, according to press reports. Nobody was hurt.