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From Civil War to Civil Rule: Libya's Army, PM Take Steps Towards National Unity

Sputnik News

17:42 05.05.2017(updated 17:49 05.05.2017)

Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj of the Government of National Accord of Libya and Commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar have agreed to create a presidential state council and hold early presidential and parliamentary elections in the country in six months, according to the Arab satellite channel Al-Hadath.

The Arab news network Al-Hadath reported that an agreement on holding early presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya in six months had been clinched between the country's Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez Sarraj and Commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar.

During this week's talks in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, the sides also agreed to establish a presidential state council, which they said "will be far from any ideological movements." The details will be resolved by special working groups which will interact on a permanent basis.

In an interview with Sputnik, Libyan MP Abu Bakr Baeera expressed hope that "the Libyan army will eventually agree that the country's government should be a civil body."

"The international community insists on this, and the US has more than once said that the Libyan army should also accept it. The sides have yet to agree on some basic provisions that will give the army guarantees of its future," he said.

Baeera recalled that "now, the army is facing unfounded verbal attacks which were also in place when the parties were signing a peace agreement in the Moroccan city of Skhirat in late 2015."

As for the organizational issues related to the upcoming elections, "first of all, it is necessary to neutralize armed groups in major cities, especially in Tripoli," according to him.

"A ceasefire and restoration of security are impossible without a joint agreement of the main political forces, such as the presidential council, the army and the parliament," Baeera said.

Meanwhile, Khalid Mahmud, editor-in-chief of the Libyan newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat, pointed to Fayez Sarraj's inability to cope with armed groups in Tripoli all by himself, something that Mahmud said "is understandable to everyone in the world except Sarraj."

Libya has been in state of a civil war since its longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown in 2011.

Since then, political power in the country has been split between two rival governments: the Council of Deputies based in Tobruk and the Tripoli-based General National Congress.

Following the signing of an UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement in December 2015, a Government of National Accord has been established in the county and started its work in late March 2016.

However, the parliament based in the city of Tobruk in eastern Libya refuses to recognize the government and the presidential council in Tripoli. The United Arab Emirates are secretly trying to act as an intermediary in the resolution of the Libyan conflict.


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