Cairo Meetings Conclude: Libyan Military Institution Should Be Unified
The third round of Libyan negotiations to unify Libyan military establishments held in Cairo reached a semi-final point of agreement on the issue and the relation between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the authority in the turmoil-stricken country.
Meanwhile, Italy, currently presiding UN’s Security Council, announced that the issue of Libya will be on the agenda of the session which will be held on 16th of this month. UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres and his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salameh will attend the session.
Cairo meetings included representatives of the LNA lead by Khalifa Haftar and other commanders of the Government of National Accord (GNA) chaired by Fayiz al-Sarraj. However, the closing statement didn’t clearly state an agreement on reforming the army.
Yet, Libyan army spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari told Asharq Al-Awsat that the talks led to a complete agreement between all Libyan parties, adding that most points of disagreement had been resolved.
Mesmari said that the statement didn’t refer to the agreement amid fears of information leaked that could damage the unification, adding that certain parties want the project to fail.
When asked whether commanders loyal to Sarraj had agreed to the unification of the army and reforming it under Haftar’s leadership, Mesmari said that the meetings disregarded the political issues on purpose, reiterating: “Yes, we have an agreement which we will announce soon.”
He described the situation in Cairo as “optimistic”, adding that the third and final meeting resulted in the formation of one committee responsible of drafting the agreement.
One of the attendees of the meetings, Colonel Salel Jeha announced that position of the Minister of Defense will be canceled. Mesmari stated that it will be done but not an exact cancellation, rather joining the ministry and the leadership into one entity.
Jeha told Libya Channel that the meetings reached a comprehensive organizational structure that ensures the stability of the leadership and its existence within a civil state. He explained that a general council for the army will be formed, adding that security and defense councils will be chaired by the president.
The concluding statement also announced that another meeting will be held in Cairo to further discuss the procedural steps required after the parties return to Libya. They will confirm what had been done and all the suggestions that the committees issued.
Meanwhile, GNA Prime Minister Sarraj ordered military public persecutor to begin an investigation with Colonel Mohammed al-Kenidi who threatened Egypt earlier.
Sarraj’s media bureau official stated that the PM was “upset of Kenidi’s irresponsible statements that target a brotherly country.”
Head of the High Council of the State Abdulrahman al-Sweihli called upon Italy, Tunisia, and France to urgently convene to discuss the issue of Derna where 17 civilians were killed and over 30 others injured.
Sweihli discussed the issue over the phone with Foreign Ministers of Italy Angelino Alfano and Tunisia Khemaies Jhinaoui as well as French Ambassador in Libya Brigitte Curmi.
He also called upon the Italian government to exert all efforts and mobilize international support to hold an urgent session of the Security Council to ensure the safety of Libyan civilians.
"In front of the causalities caused by the airstrikes on Derna last night, we stand close to the families of the victims in solidarity with the people of Derna," Alfano stated.
He added: "We call for immediate access of humanitarian organizations in order to bring relief to the wounded and deliver the aid needed to alleviate the citizen`s suffering.”