By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Monday was a pivotal day for the Government of National Accord (GNA) this week when former Gaddafi general and renegade warlord Khalifa Haftar declared he would be the one running Libya. The GNA called the move an attempt at a coup d’etat while the United Nations as well as Russia, the U.S. and the EU displayed their disappointment at Haftar’s announcement.
The call from the UN and the international community remains: a political solution and negotiation must be implemented. Libya’s Prime Minister and head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj made it clear months ago when Haftar repeatedly violated ceasefires that he lost his trust and would never negotiate with Haftar again.
For his part, the 76-year old Haftar, commanding the Libyan National Army (LNA) claims he has a “popular mandate” to rule Libya and vowed to renew his resolve to capture Libya’s capital, Tripoli. Haftar is insisting on ignoring the 2015 UN-brokered agreement to unite Libya as “a thing of the past.” In a televised announcement, Haftar claimed that “democracy” would be the order of the day and that he would create “civil institutions” for Libyans. Meanwhile, human rights groups report Haftar’s LNA conducted extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances.
The GNA has dealt a heavy blow to Haftar forces who have taken a huge hit as the GNA has taken back a number of strategic towns on the outskirts of Tripoli. In a sudden move, Haftar’s militia announced a unilateral ceasefire for the month of Ramadan after taking heavy casualties from GNA forces supported by Turkey. Haftar’s militia spokesman Ahmed Mismari said the ceasefire is at the request from the international community and “friendly countries.” GNA did not immediately respond to declaration of the ceasefire.