Fayez Al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) announced a possible meeting between him and the Libyan National Army (LNA) leader General Khalifa Haftar on Sunday. PM Sarraj also promised to terminate the non-constitutional parallel government led by Khalifa al-Ghawil in Tripoli.
The meeting raised hopes on removing tension from the war-torn country.
Sarraj also for the first time hinted using force to settle the conflict in Tripoli, saying that dealing with Ghawil’s forces had been done with cautious
wisdom until this moment, yet should the need arise, fiddling will be put to an end. Sarraj also highlighted that Ghawil’s government has reportedly been cooperating with armed militias.
Five years after toppling authoritarian Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s capital Tripoli remains conflicted and overrun by the fighting of three governments each reaching out for a power grab.
Sarraj announced being fully prepared to sit down with LNA leader Haftar to find a solution for the Libya crisis, Sarraj said in his on-screen speech to the United Nations delegation.
Sarraj however dodged questions on his previous criticism against Haftar, labeling him a war criminal in his recent press Tripoli conference.
GNA leader Sarraj reiterated the importance of sticking to the Sikhrat agreement guidelines on distribution of power.
Haftar had met with Sarraj last January with Egyptian mediation, yet the talks led to no clear results between the conflicting parties.
Ongoing conflict in Libya, beginning with the Arab Spring protests of 2011, led to the First Libyan Civil War, foreign military intervention, and the ousting and death of Muammar Gaddafi.
The civil war’s aftermath led to violence and instability across the country, which erupted into renewed civil war in 2014.
The second Libyan Civil War is a conflict among rival groups seeking a power grab over territory of Libya.
The conflict has been mostly between the government of the Council of Deputies that was elected democratically in 2014, also known as the “Tobruk government” and internationally recognized as the “Libyan Government”– and the rival Islamist government of the General National Congress (GNC), also called the “National Salvation Government”, based in the capital Tripoli.
In December 2015 these two factions agreed in principle to unite as the GNA. Although the GNA is now functioning, its authority is still unclear as specific details acceptable to both sides have not yet been agreed upon.