UN-backed Libyan government bows to Gen. Haftar’s pro-Egypt forces

by WorldTribune Staff, September 28, 2016

Libya has been forced to grant Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s faction prominent representation in the new government, the country’s UN-backed prime minister-designate said.

“We have no other choice but dialogue and reconciliation,” Fayez al-Sarraj told AFP in an interview in Paris on Sept. 27.

Fayez al-Sarraj. /Reuters
Fayez al-Sarraj. /Reuters

“No one wants an escalation or a confrontation between Libyans,” he added.

Earlier this month, Haftar’s forces seized control of the main oil ports that make up what is referred to as Libya’s “Oil Crescent”.

Sarraj pledged to quickly submit “the composition of a new government in which everyone will be represented in a balanced way.”

Despite being backed by the international community, Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has struggled to impose its power in Libya.

Haftar has solid support from Egypt and the UAE and calls the head of the Egyptian army “an intimate friend.”

In an interview with Egypt’s state-owned al-Ahram newspaper, Haftar said he regularly consulted Egyptian authorities about Libyan affairs and he received intelligence from Egypt’s military.

“We deal at the leadership level [with Egypt] with a high degree of transparency and clarity,” he said on Sept. 26. “We consult among ourselves on all issues of common interest and we cooperate without limit for the sake of our countries’ interests.”

Haftar’s forces are loyal to a rival parliament sitting in the eastern city of Tobruk, which refuses to recognize the GNA’s authority.

Meanwhile, France was forced to admit that it has provided military assistance to Haftar after three French troops were killed in Libya during an intelligence-gathering mission in July.

Sarraj said French authorities promised to inform the GNA in the future of “any security coordination” with Haftar’s forces.