Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan appeared on state television on Friday seeking to reassure citizens about the political situation in the country following rumors of a military coup.
Zeidan said: “The government is working like normal, and the situation in the country is under control.”
“Everything is just fine,” he said.
His statements come after a former Libyan army officer announced the suspension of government and parliament in an attempted coup.
Former Libyan General Khalifa Haftar had announced the suspension of parliament and government earlier on Friday, presenting a five-point roadmap for the country.
Local media initially reported that Haftar’s forces had taken control of the main roads around Tripoli and cut off communication to the capital, but subsequent reports denied this.
Haftar has called for a presidential committee to be formed to govern the country until new elections can be held.
“The national command of the Libyan Army is declaring a movement for the new roadmap,” said Haftar, adding that the Libyan Armed Forces are calling for Libya to be “rescued” from the political and security crises it faces.
“We will hold meetings with different parties and groups regarding implementing the roadmap,” he said.
But General National Congress (GNC) spokesman Omar Humaidan dismissed Haftar’s statement, saying: “He [Haftar] doesn’t represent the army . . . He is not even in Tripoli. The capital is secure.”
A security source in Tripoli, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said: “The state of alert for military and security forces responsible for protecting ministries and state infrastructure in Tripoli has been raised.” The source added that these forces have been significantly bolstered over the past two weeks, particularly around the GNC headquarters.
Speaking to Reuters by telephone earlier on Friday, Zeidan confirmed: “Libya is stable. The GNC is doing its work and so is the government. The army is in its headquarters and Khalifa Haftar has no authority.”
“No military units have moved to touch any institutions,” he said, adding that legal proceedings will be taken against the former army general.
Haftar is a former Gaddafi ally who defected from the regime over Libya’s war with Chad in the 1980s. Following a period of exile in the United States, he returned to Libya to participate in the 2011 revolution, becoming a leading revolutionary commander.