The Libyan Government of National Accord responded to the threats of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar to ignite a new war in the country, and confirmed its readiness to repel any potential aggression, while Washington called for the continuation of the political process and the organization of general elections in Libya at the end of next year.
After the statements made by Haftar on Thursday in Benghazi during his participation in a military parade marking the 69th anniversary of Libya’s independence – which included a call for a military confrontation with the Turkish forces in Libya – the Minister of Defense in the Government of National Accord Salah al-Nimroush responded by saying that the internationally recognized government will not allow a scenario to be repeated The offensive launched by Haftar on Tripoli and other cities in western Libya in April 2019, which ended with the defeat of his forces last June.
In statements to the private Libya Al-Ahrar channel, Al-Nimroush rejected these statements, and said that the Al-Wefaq Forces are still respecting the ceasefire agreement sponsored by the international community, accusing the retired major general of repeatedly trying to violate the agreement reached on October 23 during talks. The Libyan Joint Military Committee (5 + 5).
He added that Haftar continues to mobilize forces, referring to what was previously announced by the Government of National Accord about sending new reinforcements of Russian, Syrian and Chadian mercenaries to Sirte (450 kilometers east of Tripoli) and Jufra, which is located to the south (central Libya), and includes a military base of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Company. And warplanes deployed by Russia months ago.
The Libyan minister emphasized that instructions were issued to the Al-Wefaq Forces to fully prepare and await instructions from Fayez Al-Sarraj, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Presidential Council, to deal and respond to the sources of fire at the appropriate place and time without relentlessly.
Al-Nimroush also said that any political solution in Libya would not involve war criminals who were the cause of all massacres and destruction, and stressed that the Government of National Accord could not accept any initiative that would give cover to the crimes committed by Haftar during his attack on Tripoli and other cities in western Libya, including It is killing and laying mines.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera yesterday evening, the head of the Supreme Council of State in Libya, Khaled Al-Mashri, accused the retired Major General Khalifa Haftar, the position by the Tobruk Parliament, the commander-in-chief of the army of seeking to ignite a new war, saying that he had become outside the political settlement.
In a speech delivered yesterday in Benghazi, Haftar said that a confrontation with what he described as the Turkish colonialist and his soldiers was looming on the near horizon.
Haftar called on his forces to prepare for what he described as the coming decisive confrontation to expel the colonizer, as he put it.
Since the Turkish army intervened in support of the reconciliation government forces under a security and military agreement between Ankara and Tripoli, Haftar launched similar threats, and Turkey responded by warning him that it would be a legitimate target for it in case its interests in Libya were attacked by any attack by him.
Armistice and elections
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington is particularly interested in the decision to organize general elections in Libya on the Libyan National Day next year.
In a statement congratulating the Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on the occasion of Libya’s National Day, Pompeo added that Washington supports the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement in Libya and moving forward with the political process.
He added that Washington supports a secure, prosperous and united Libya in an inclusive government that safeguards the country’s security and meets the Libyans’ humanitarian and economic demands.
The US minister’s statements come as the political process in Libya faces the specter of collapse in light of mutual accusations between the Government of National Accord and Haftar of preparing for military action around Sirte and Jufrah, and the failure of the interlocutors to agree to form a new executive authority.
The round of political dialogue – which was held last month in Tunisia under the auspices of the United Nations – witnessed an agreement to organize presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, 2021, while Libyan forces stressed that the priority should be to organize a referendum on the current draft constitution.
Al-Sarraj had expressed his hope yesterday to organize the elections on the agreed date.
He said that his country faces several challenges and dangers that require uniting efforts and rebuilding the military institution to form a professional national army under the umbrella of a civilian state.