Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Haftar Declares Expiry of Skhirat Agreement, Refuses to Recognize Sarraj’s Government

Haftar Declares Expiry of Skhirat Agreement, Refuses to Recognize Sarraj’s Government

Monday, 18 December, 2017 - 07:15
Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference in Amman, Jordan August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Libya’s National Army Commander Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar announced on Sunday the expiry of the 2015 Skhirat Agreement and the end of the tenure of the UN-backed National Accord Government chaired by Fayez al-Sarraj.


The agreement, signed on December 17, 2015 in Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations, stipulated the formation of a consensual government for a year-term, renewable only once.


Although the government’s tenure ended on Sunday, the UN Security Council has stressed that the Skhirat Agreement should remain the only framework to resolve the current crisis in Libya, until the holding of the general elections next year.


In a televised speech that took less than seven minutes, Haftar said: “The validity of the so-called political agreement - and all the bodies emanating from it – has expired.”


“The military institution will not submit to any party unless it has gained its legitimacy from the Libyan people,” he added.


Haftar went on to say: “We are fully obedient to the commands of the free Libyan people as they are the source of authority and the (real) decision makers.”


The field marshal underlined that the Libyan armed forces’ general command has been directly communicating with the international community to resolve the Libyan situation and has proposed initiatives to push the political process and hold general elections.


Brigadier Ahmad al-Mesmari, spokesman for the Libyan National Army, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army has been on alert for four years.


“We execute the orders of the people; whenever we are asked to intervene to resolve the matter and end the political chaos… we are ready,” he stated.


Sarraj, for his part, ignored the recent developments and considered that the Skhirat Agreement was “the only ground for achieving consensus.”


Following a surprise visit to Algeria, where he met with the Algerian prime minister, Sarraj stressed the Agreement “has the mechanisms to achieve consensus by solving any political obstacles”, rejecting a military solution to the crisis.


Tunisia hosted on Sunday evening a meeting between the foreign ministers of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria to discuss the political process and the security situation in Libya.


The Tunisian foreign ministry said in a statement that the meeting was an opportunity to set the plan of action at the tripartite level for the next phase and to express support for the UN plan to achieve a political solution in the country.


UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, anticipated Haftar’s speech by calling on all parties to listen to their citizens and refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process.


“Free and fair elections will usher Libya into institutional and political normalcy. It will provide the Libyan people with what they want most - predictable governance, decent living standards and dignity,” Salame said in a statement.


“The Action Plan, in all its stages, was, and still is, meant to prepare the proper conditions for free and fair elections. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has provided the needed technical support to the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) and is intensively trying to establish the proper political, legislative and security conditions for elections to be held before the end of 2018,” he added.

Editor Picks