Haftar Rejects Ceasefire, Perplexing Adversaries, Allies

  • Libyan National Army commander, Khalifa Hafter, decided to postpone the signing of the ceasefire agreement, leaving Russia and his delegation
  • Russia hosted international talks in cooperation with the Prime Minister of the Russian Government, Fayez al-Sarraj and the Turkish side.
  • Libyan leader Haftar stipulated that armed militias need to be disbanded and remove weapons in their possession

In a new step, the Libyan National Army commander, Khalifa Haftar, decided to postpone the signing of a ceasefire agreement, leaving Russia and his delegation. Russia hosted international talks in cooperation with the Prime Minister of the Libyan government, Fayez al-Sarraj, and the Turkish side. This opened speculation about the factors that may have prompted Haftar to take this position, despite allegations raised about the imminent signing of a binding ceasefire agreement in Libya once the negotiations in Moscow ended.

Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar is a Libyan-American military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which, under Haftar’s leadership, replaced nine elected municipal councils by military administrators, and as of May 2019, was engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War.

On the other hand, according to unnamed Libyan sources, Haftar apparently insisted that armed militias need to be disbanded and their weapons removed from their possession. It is his view that the militias prevent the imposition of peace and stability in the Libyan territories. Some other sources went for a second hypothesis, that Field Marshal Haftar refused Turkey’s assumption of the task of supervising the ceasefire in the country. Haftar says the agreement ignores important demands of the Libyan army, including the withdrawal of Turkish forces from the country. Al-Sarraj must also be prevented from signing any agreements without returning to the national army.

For its part, Russia commented on the developments of the situation, saying through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the country will continue efforts with the parties concerned in Libya until an agreement is reached. Libyan politician Muhammad al-Zubaidi refuses to release the postponement of the position of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. He confirmed that the latter rejected the document issued under the auspices of Russia and Turkey in general, and did not ask to give him a deadline as reported by media outlets affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj is the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya that was formed as a result of the Libyan Political Agreement signed on 17 December 2015.

He denied that the dispute over the document should be in one or two items, explaining that there was a conspiracy held under the auspices of Turkey. The reconciliation reached in Moscow, and signed in a document was prepared from the Turkish point of view. Thus, Haftar, embarrassed, had to sign so that he does not appear in the position of rejecting peace.

He pointed out that Haftar found that with his signature he will be bound by a road map that preserves Turkish interests and the survival of terrorist militias. He added that Marshal was under intense pressure by Russia to agree to the document, saying that it was not a document to agree to a ceasefire, but it is a new agreement or a map of Libya in the near future. He ruled out that the Marshal would agree to the document under any circumstances, even if Russia made an amendment to one or two provisions, stressing that the situation in Libya will remain as it is until the military confrontations are repeated again.

He stressed that the Libyan army is determined to resolve the battles, pointing out that the scene will again turn to war and there is no room for a political solution. And he concluded that until the upcoming Berlin conference on Sunday, January 19, it would not be helpful to add any changes to the scene, considering that everything that happens is only a waste of time.

He believes the ceasefire came in the interests of the army more than the militias, noting that it gave him an opportunity to rearrange his ranks and transfer his equipment. This will serve to consolidate his control over the points that he succeeded in annexing.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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