The renegade east-based commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, announced on Monday April 27 his withdrawal from the political agreement concluded in 2015 in Skhirat, Morocco, which had allowed the formation of the Government of National Accord (GNA), currently led by Fayez El Serraj.
In a televised speech aired Monday night, Hafter said that he was responding to calls by the Libyan people who mandated him to lead the country out of its current political impasse.
Haftar who has been opposed to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said he “accepted the popular mandate” to govern the country, a “popular mandate” limited to street demonstrations in the areas under his control.
Haftar’s move has been labelled as a coup and another blow to the peace process in Libya.
In reaction to the announcement, the GNA of Fayez al-Sarraj denounced a “farce and a new coup”, “which is added to a long series”.
In 2017, Haftar had already assured that the Skhirat agreement had “expired”. In 2014, he had said in a TV speech that he was going to take power, but his announcement went unheeded.
Haftar, who has been trying for a year to militarily seize Tripoli, wants by his announcement “to conceal the defeat of his militias and mercenaries” and “the failure of his dictatorial project”, argued the GNA, in allusion to recent setbacks of pro-Haftar forces.
Haftar, backed by Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France and Wagner Group, a pro-Moscow mercenary company, has been pushing to unseat the GNA since April last year when he launched a surprise military offensive to seize Tripoli.
The GNA, with the backing of Turkey and Qatar, has managed to derail the military pushing and recovered several key positions from Haftar forces this month.
Russia Tuesday said it has been surprised by the announcement.
A diplomat at the Russian foreign ministry said Haftar’s move breaches UN Security Council resolution calling for negotiated solution among all Libyans.
This is surprising. There are decisions of the Berlin summit, and more importantly – the UN Security Council resolution 2510, which must be implemented first of all by the Libyans themselves with the assistance of the international community, the UN secretary-general,” the diplomat told state-run RIA news agency.
“We advocate for the continuation of an inclusive inter-Libyan dialogue within the framework of the political process, and there is no military solution to the conflict,” the Russian official said.
Concluded in 2015 in Skhirat, Morocco, PLA is the only one that has so far made it possible to achieve some progress in the Libyan dossier.
It is thus at the origin of the formation of the GNA, which sits in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and which is recognized by the international community, in particular the United Nations.