By Libya Herald reporter.
Cairo, 14 February 2017:
Attempts by the Egyptian government to mediate a peace deal between Presidency Council leader Faiez Serraj and Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter were in ruins this evening after the field marshal refused to meet Serraj. Serraj then flew back to Tripoli.
According to Egyptian Army spokesman Mohamed Samir, the two men did, however, agree via indirect negotiations to fresh parliamentary elections and a presidential contest in February 2018. The Libya Herald, though, has been told by a source within the Hafter camp that while Serraj did agree to the proposal, which would see him remain in office for another year, Hafter did not. For his part, the House of Representatives (HoR) president, Ageela Saleh, who flew into Cairo at 1am this morning, was non-committal, saying that he would study the idea.
After yesterday’s separate meetings in Cairo, Serraj and Hafter were supposed to join in a meeting today chaired by Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi. In the event, Serraj remained waiting all day at his hotel and Ageela Saleh at another while Egyptian officials at the intelligence headquarters tried to pressurise Hafter into compromise.
Hafter reportedly refused to accept Serraj’s plan for a three-man presidency, a separate government, the position of commander-in-chief to be held jointly by the heads of the Presidency Council, the HoR and the State Council and a supreme military council which would include the field marshal.
The only ray of hope that came out of the talk was that both sides agreed that a committee be set up comprising 15 member each from the HoR and the State Council to look at changes to the Libyan Political Agreement.
The failure is a blow to months of increasingly coordinated Egyptian, Algerian and Tunisian diplomacy and is likely to strain relations between Hafter and the Egyptian authorities.