By Sami Zaptia.
London, 28 April 2020:
The internationally recognized Tripoli authorities in the form of the Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord led by Faiez Serraj, condemned Khalifa Hafter’s coup d’état on the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) – but offered a credible olive branch to the eastern-based House of Representatives.
Tripoli’s condemnation came almost instantly last night after Khalifa Hafter, commander of the mainly eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), had in a televised message unilaterally revoked the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
The UN-brokered LPA is the current social contract or political framework guiding Libya after it was agreed to by the opposing parties after the 2014 coup by the Libya Dawn militias. The coup, in reaction to the election results, had forced the democratic caretaker government and the recently elected parliament (HoR) to settle in eastern Libya. The Libya Dawn regime supported by a rump of the outgoing parliament, the General National Council (GNC), had subsequently installed its own government – the Government of National Salvation.
The LPA, agreed to by the internationally recognized Libyan parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), stipulates that major political steps or reforms must be agreed to consensually by the three bodies it recognized; the Presidency Council, the HoR and the High State Council (HSC).
Tripoli’s condemnation of Hafter said that Hafter’s obsession with power had reached its limits and that Hafter ‘‘the fool sought to end it, and in a sitcom the rebel announces a new coup in addition to his series of coups that began years ago’’.
It added that ‘‘The war criminal’s announcement tonight of a coup d’état on the (Libyan) Political Agreement (LPA) and all political bodies in the country was not surprising to us, but this is a step we expected to cover up the defeat of his militias and terrorist mercenaries, and the failure of his authoritarian project to seize power, and to pre-empt expected demands to hold him accountable for his failed adventure, which achieved nothing but the death, injury and displacement of hundreds of thousands and the destruction of many of the nation’s capabilities.
The rebel (Hafter) has even turned against the parallel political bodies (the HoR and eastern-based government) that support him and that once appointed him, so that no one or any state can boast of its legitimacy on any pretext whatsoever’’.
The reference in Tripoli’s condemnation to ‘‘any state’’ is a message to France, the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia who Tripoli accuse of supporting Hafter on the pretext that he is appointed by the legitimate parliament, the HoR.
Tripoli added that Hafter’s ‘‘announcement today confirms to all the need to defeat his coup d’état project, to eliminate once and for all the illusion that he has taken over power, to return our country to the rule of the individual and the family, and to abort the hopes of Libyans in building a democratic civilian state, and this will be achieved, God willing, by the Libyan army and the supporting force (militias)’’.
However, in concluding its condemnation, Tripoli left the door open by offering any HoR members it expects, and hopes, would jump ship – an olive branch and a way out. It also hopes to help create, deepen or take advantage of any possible split in the eastern ranks. It concluded by saying ‘‘In this context, we appeal to all members of the House of Representatives to join their colleagues in Tripoli, to start a comprehensive dialogue and to continue the democratic process to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution through the ballot box’’.
Tripoli then also appealed over Hafter’s head to the people of the east by calling on them and his soldiers to lay down their arms and save their lives and not to be exploited by Hafter for his own personal gain.
‘‘And on this occasion, we extend our hands to all our children, who are deceived and their families, especially in the eastern region, who now clearly known the intentions of the aggressor (Hafter) , who is seeking power along with his sons at the expense of their blood and souls. We call on them once again to lay down their arms, save the spilling of blood and take the side of the nation as there is still an opportunity today – so take it’’.
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