Military officers from the self-styled army of Khalifa Haftar and the government of Presidential Council led by Al-Sirraj started a meeting in Egypt’s Cairo to unify the Libyan military institution.
This meeting comes after others which, according to reports, came out with agreements between the military officers under the auspices of Egypt.
Reports say that the most important points agreed on were separating military institution from the political process on the condition that Haftar is named commander in chief of the Libyan army under a new presidential council – two deputies and one head – with appointment of a new chief of staff from the western region.
The acting chief of staff of Al-Sirraj government Abdelrahman Al-Taweel headed the Tripoli government’s delegation in Cairo, which reflects the significance of the points that could be agreed on in there.
Reactions to the meeting in Cairo by high ranking western region officials varied between rejection and accusation of enlisting help from foreigners to control Libya and give authority to the “former war captive Khalifa Haftar.”
Ali Rafida, the deputy commander of Sirte Security Operations Room, who is a commander at Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous, said they reject imposing Haftar as commander of the army as he uses military power to rule Libya.
“We haven’t received any information about the Cairo meeting but we did in the past received details about the previous meetings that want the army to be ruled by Haftar. Haftar commanding the army is a replica of Gaddafi’s dictatorship.” Rafida said Sunday.
“Any agreement shall be passed in public not from under the table. We all know that the east is living under dictatorship and anyone who opposes Haftar goes to jail or takes a bullet.” He explained.
The spokesman for the Misrata military council Ibrahim Baytelmal also rejected naming Haftar as the commander of the Libyan army, saying “no war captive can be commander of the army.”
“I call on the officers to gather and form a Libyan army on the Libyan soil. I reject Haftar and but not an eastern Libyan commander for the army.” Baytelmal added.
The Head of the Security Backup Force in Gharyan, Muftah Shankada, also said it is impossible that Haftar will be allowed to command the army as he used the help of the UAE and Egypt to bomb Derna and other areas, saying western officers won’t be on his side for that reason.
The spokesman for the Defense Ministry Mohammed Al-Ghusri said the meeting in Cairo is not serious and won’t succeed as it is not transparent, calling for holding a meeting inside Libya.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the deputy defense minister issued an order dismissing Al-Ghusri from his post as spokesman for the ministry.
The head of Sabratha military council Al-Taher Al-Gharabli rejected any agreement between civilian and military bodies, adding that Cairo meeting is not proposed on the Libyan army but pressed on Libya by foreign agendas without a clear plan.
“Any agreement between Al-Sirraj and Haftar add to division and the fact that politicians are in the meeting is a clear indication of the political lobbying they are doing.” Al-Gharabli added.