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Libya: Haftar staging a coup, world must act

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar sits during talks with Greek Foreign Minister in Athens, on January 17, 2020 [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images]
Libya's Khalifa Haftar in Athens, Greece on 17 January 2020 [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images]

Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli has called for dialogue in order to maintain democracy in the country after Renegade General Khalifa Haftar declared yesterday that he had “a popular mandate” to govern the country.

In a statement, the Presidential Council said: “Haftar’s untamed foolishness and obsession with power have reached a dead end. In a ridiculous manner, the rebel announces a new coup that is added to a series of coups which he started years ago.”

“The coup that has been announced by the war criminal tonight against the political agreement and all political bodies in the country was not surprising to us. We expected him to make this move in order to cover up the defeat of his terrorist militias,” the statement continued. The announcement came two weeks after forces loyal to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli expelled Haftar’s troops from several key cities in the country’s west.

READ: Haftar forces continue shelling Libyan civilians

The statement called on Haftar’s supporters, especially in the eastern region, to “lay down their arms, end the bloodshed, and side with their homeland. There is still an opportunity today and you can seize it.”

In turn, the Libyan Supreme Council of State said: “The coup against the democratic track announced by the war criminal Khalifa Haftar is nothing but a continuation of a series of failed coup attempts and a manoeuvre aimed at covering up his failures.”

Bloody Haftar - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Bloody Haftar – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The statement demanded the United Nations and its mission in Libya “to assume their political and moral responsibilities before the Libyans and reject Haftar’s foolish methods and disdain for the unity of Libya and the sovereignty of its people.”

It called on the House of Representatives to “meet in order to resume the negotiation track while highlighting the need to eliminate the military coup project initiated against legitimacy.”

Seventy-six-year-old Haftar of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday dismissed the 2015 United Nations-brokered agreement to unite the country as “a thing of the past”. In a televised address, he pledged to create a new government.

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