Khalifa Haftar or no concord government, eastern region officials tell UNSMIL

Khalifa Haftar or no concord government, eastern region officials tell UNSMIL

January 17, 2016 - 12:16
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The UN Support Mission in Libya is in limbo because of the fate of renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar in the UN-imposed government.

Tobruk parliament hardliner Issa Al-Araibi said Saturday that Cyrenaica members in the government of concord were about to issue a statement announcing their membership suspension from the Presidency Council due to lack of guarantees for what he called "the Libyan army", Khalifa Haftar's de facto armed groups.

In a televised interview with Jordan-based 218 TV channel, Al-Araibi clarified that the UN envoy, Martin Kobler, intervened and asked them to delay the statement for 48 hours so that he can fulfil their demands. 

“Kobler called Ali Al-Gotrani (deputy prime minister) and begged him for a span of 48 hours promising to bring the needed support for the army from the United Nations, so we are here waiting for the approval of our demands.” Said Al-Araibi.

He confirmed that Cyrenaica members would not discuss any nominations for the ministerial portfolios before their demands are guaranteed.

The non-negotiable demands include support for rogue Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s army, lifting the arms embargo on weapons sales to the army, keeping in place the army leaderships, especially Haftar, founding a funds commission to help rebuild Benghazi, and distributing the political occupations among the three regions in Libya equally.

“The Presidency Council members have not responded yet to these demands” concluded Al-Araibi added.

The UN-imposed government was expected to announce the cabinet Saturday night, but instructions were given by Martin Kobler to postpone the announcement by 48 hours, as confirmed by a GNC source.

Observers say there are sharp differences between the members of presidency council over government positions, including Haftar's role in the government.  

Meanwhile, Cyrenaica Municipal Councils issued a statement Saturday to reiterate their fixed principles and constants as regards the policies adopted by the UN-imposed Sirraj government.

In another headache to the UNSMIL, the councils reaffirmed that the military institution and its leaderships must stay out of the political conflict.

“We can never let go with the sovereignty and independence of the Libyan state and we completely reject any decisions made away from the parliament as well as we refuse any trusteeship or exile government that would govern the country from abroad.” The statement reads.

The Cyrenaica municipalities also pointed out that the House of Representatives is a legitimate representative for them.

The UNSMIL fears that if Haftar remains in place, they would lose support of Misrata brigades, thus the dream of the government's success would fade.