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Libyan Military Officials Discuss Army Unification in Egypt

Libyan Military Officials Discuss Army Unification in Egypt

Friday, 19 October, 2018 - 09:30
Members of the Libyan National Army. Reuters file photo

The seventh round of Libyan army reunification talks resumed in Egypt this week with the participation of senior leaders from the General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls eastern Libya, and the forces of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA).

LNA Spokesperson Brigadier General Ahmed al-Mesmari announced in a brief statement on his Facebook account the resumption of the meetings in Cairo on Wednesday under the auspices of Egypt.

No further details were provided about the meetings’ agenda or those who attended.

The former spokesman of GNA’s Ministry of Defense, Brig. Gen. Mohammed al-Ghassari, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the representative of the Presidential Council participated in the seventh round of talks.

A military source also told the newspaper that the Cairo talks will inevitably face the same obstacles as previous meetings, including the issue of “hierarchy within the military institutions”, in reference to people who have been recruited from outside the army within its ranks during the last two years.

The source pointed out that the reference of GNA representatives in the Cairo talks is the Skhirat agreement signed in Morocco at the end of 2015, which assigned the post of supreme commander of the Libyan army to the head of the Presidential Council.

The spokesman of “al-Bunyan al-Marsous” that ousted ISIS militants from Sirte, Brigadier Mohammed al-Ghosri, indicated that the Operation has not received an invitation to attend the Cairo meetings, though he welcomed the efforts exerted by Egyptian authorities to unite the Libyan military.

Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, Ghosri said that "the unification of the military institution in Libya is not difficult and is possible to achieve," but he pointed out that "it requires unified visions and efforts to formulate a national project that works for the country’s goodwill.”

The last meeting was in March and included 45 high-ranking officers, with the first-time participation of the Chief of Staff of the General Command of LNA, Abdul Razek al-Nadoori, and the chief of staff of the internationally-recognized GNA, Major General Abdel Rahman al-Taweel.

Since its launch in September 2017, the talks between Libyan military commanders have succeeded in a relative rapprochement, with an agreement on "the organizational structure of the Libyan military establishment, and the establishment of the Supreme Defense Council, National Security Council and the General Command Council."

Deputy chairman of the National Defense and Security Committee of the Libyan House of Representatives Omar Ghaith said that all the political forces in Libya are waiting for the results of the Cairo talks, pointing out that the creation of a national army will be the first step in the unification of the executive authority and preparation for the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Ghaith told Asharq Al-Awsat that "there are fears and mistrust among the officers gathered in Cairo as a result of the political conflict."

However, they are all joined by the country’s need to unify the military institution, which will be an incentive for them to put the country’s interest first, he said.

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