Libyan east commander Haftar vows to move war to Tripoli as UN-led dialogue resumes in Tunisia

Libyan east commander Haftar vows to move war to Tripoli as UN-led dialogue resumes in Tunisia

October 14, 2017 - 22:27
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Written by: AbdulkaderAssad

The members of the two committees representing the High Council of State (HCS) and the House of Representatives (HoR) arrived Saturday morning in Tunisia to hold a second round to resume amendments to the Skhirat-signed Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) as per the action plan devised by the Head of the UNSMIL Ghassan Salame.

The HoR's committee said a couple of days ago that all members voted unanimously to annul article 08 of the additional provisions of the LPA, agreeing as well on the proposed reshuffling of the Presidential Council to three members - a head and two deputies, and a separate government.

In the meantime, the head of the dialogue committee of the HCS, Mousa Faraj, considered the canceling of article 08 a mere proposal that is not abiding to neither party, adding that it will be discussed further in the second round, which will kick off officially on Sunday.

Despite optimism toward the current dialogue meetings in Tunisia, there is still ambiguous and unresolved issues among the two negotiators, including the contentious article 08 dilemma, whose fate has become - at least in the upcoming period - tied to Libyan warlord, Khalifa Haftar.

Moreover, though the HoR agreed to annul article 08 of the additional provisions and amend article 08 of the LPA, instead of annulling the latter and though it admitted that the Presidential Council is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces, Haftar took the initiative on a different track this time by a military escalation covered by a political stance.

Earlier this morning, Haftar was seen in a video among military officials of his Dignity Operation, posted by the general command, declaring his forces' control on 1.660.000 km2 out of 1.730.000 km2 of Libya. 
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"We have controlled the area between Zuwara and Al-Zawiya, and we will seize Al-Zawiya city in the few coming days." He remarked, in a threat to the capital Tripoli, which is few kilometers away from Al-Zawiya.

Social media, meanwhile, circulated lists of tens of what they described as names of candidates provided by the dialogue committees to Salame for the new Presidential Council trio.

However, in spite of poor validation of the lists leaked to the social media, they remain an example of fragmentation and height of conflict among the two parties regarding who should assume the new posts, which Salame came to grips with and thus asked the two negotiation parties to swiftly come back on the amendment table in Tunisia.

With the arrival of the dialogue negotiators from the HoR and the HCS, UN envoy Salame is expected to lead the meetings between them for more solid changes to the LPA and for accreditation of the new shape of the Presidential Council, with a question still to be answered later: who are the new members of the Presidential Council? Putting in mind that Salame hinted at possible leap to stage two of his plan, which is a national conference for all Libyan parties, if no progress was made in Tunisia.