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Al-Sarraj: Powers of civil authority represented by supreme commander of army must be clarified

Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj on 7 December 2017 [Cüneyt Karadağ/Anadolu Agency]
Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya Fayez Al-Sarraj on 7 December 2017 [Cüneyt Karadağ/Anadolu Agency]

During the negotiations to unify the military, held in Cairo, Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of the Libyan Presidential Council (PC), demanded a clarification of the status of the civilian authority embodied in the Supreme Commander of the Army and his granted powers.

This was announced by the spokesman for the Head of the Presidential Council, Mohammed Al-Salak during a press conference held on Monday at the Media Center at the Prime Minister's Office in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Al-Sarraj, along with the Presidency of the Presidential Council and the Presidency of the Government, is the Commander-in-chief of the Army.

Al-Sarraj pointed out that "the negotiations (to unify the army) are still going on until an agreement is reached in this regard," as was reported by Al-Salak.

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However, he stressed that "the unification of institutions, especially sovereign ones, cannot be separated from the comprehensive political solution."

Al-Sarraj declared his full support for "unifying the military". He added that he would follow up this critical negotiating course with the army officers of the Government of National Accord.

For several months, military representatives who represent several regions in Libya held meetings in Cairo to develop a strategy to unify their military institution and structure. The meetings were under the auspices of the Egyptian Committee on Libya, headed by Major General Mohammed Al-Kashki, Assistant Minister of Defense, despite the opposition of armed brigades in the west of the country to Cairo meetings, and their rejection of the idea that Haftar takes the army leadership.

On Sunday, the Cairo meetings concluded after they were resumed last Wednesday and came out with a draft which terms have not been t officially announced. However, the draft coincided with a statement issued two days ago by Ahmed Al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the forces of Haftar, who attended the meetings.

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Earlier in the day, the Libya News Agency, close to Haftar, announced that "the final meeting in Cairo issued a draft project proposal to unify the military."

The draft, which the agency said it had access to, included keeping Haftar as "commander-in-chief of the armed forces for four years, plus another year," in addition to "the restructuring of the Presidential Guard, which was formed by the Presidential Council, in Tripoli months ago."

The draft also called for "the prohibition of parallel formations of the army, through resolute decisions, giving everyone the opportunity to join the military, and giving precedence to formations' officers."In addition to "establishing a National Security Council, under political leadership, a National Defence Council, under the military-political leadership, and a General Command Council, under military command. The proposal defined the components and functions of these councils."

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