By Sami Zaptia.
London, 23 June 2019:
UNSMIL head, Ghassan Salame, met with Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar, at Hafter’s headquarters in Al-Rajmeh (eastern Libya) yesterday.
UNSMIL reported that they discussed “the circumstances that led to the outbreak of current fighting, the humanitarian situation in Tripoli. They also discussed ways to accelerate the transition towards reaching a political solution.”
Salame is attempting to put an end to the Tripoli fighting started by Hafter on 4 April which seems to be stalled on the southern edges of the capital.
The UNSMIL head is keen to bring both parties back to the negotiation table in an effort to find a political solution. He may have been encouraged to seek this by the stalemate in the fighting.
However, in an exclusive interview given to an eastern Libya based publication last week, Hafter said that while he was in favour of a political solution to the Libyan crisis, this could only come after Tripoli was liberated from “Islamists.. militias.. and terrorists”.
In an effort to gain support and maybe encourage some pressure on Hafter for a return to dialogue, Salame also travelled to Benghazi today where he met it’s municipality leaders.
UNSMIL reported that Salame will also meet with a broad range of political and social figures, civil society and notables from the region.
UNSMIL reported that Salame fedback to his eastern hosts “on his tireless efforts to find a minimum level of consensus in the international community on the Libyan crisis”.
It also reported that the eastern tribal leaders “called on the UN to work towards achieving a fair distribution of Libyan wealth”.
The equitable distribution of Libya’s rentier-state wealth by western Libya (Tripoli) is an oft quoted grievance by the rest of Libya outside Tripoli – and especially by eastern Libya.
Eastern Libya was particularly marginalized by the Qaddafi regime as a result of its resistance to its rule.
The tribal leaders also discussed “ways to find a solution to the Libyan crisis and steer the country back towards stability, security and prosperity”.
Hafter attempts to market his justification for Tripoli attack – assures of his democratic credentials