The foreign minister of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has said he would not attend an Arab league meeting of foreign ministers on Libya this week arguing that the GNA was not consulted.
Taher Siala told the Pan-Arab organization’s executive council that this planned meeting would “deepen the rift” between Arab governments on the issue.
The meeting, via a video conference because of the covid-19 pandemic, was urgently requested by Egypt, an ally of GNA’s tough foe, retired Gen. Khalifa Haftar. The initiative was welcomed by the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
The GNA top diplomat indicated that he was not consulted for the proposed meeting and expressed concern that the video conference format of the meeting was not suitable for addressing the thorny issues involved.
The GNA and its backer Turkey dismissed the initiative and called for ceasefire negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations.
Libya, which has slid into chaos since 2011 following the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in a NATO-backed revolution, has become the theater of a major global proxy war.
Backed by Qatar and Turkey, the GNA is facing rivalry from Haftar who is backed by Egypt, UAE, Russia and France as well as Washington.
The GNA has recently managed to derail Haftar’s one-year old efforts to capture Tripoli. The gains by GNA forces triggered fear in Egypt. The Egyptian President threatened last Saturday he could send troops inside Libya if GNA forces got near Egyptian borders.
Egypt argues that the GNA harbors terrorists who may cross into the country and stage attacks.