Libya National Army Commander Marshal Khalifa Haftar recently rejected a secret offer put forth by Government of National Accord Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
The GNA leader attempted to end the political and military crisis in the country, raging since the toppling of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, by proposing to fairly share power with LNA’s Haftar, an LNA official close to the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Speaking under conditions of anonymity, the senior Libyan official said that Haftar had received a message from Sarraj at a meeting outside the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi about two weeks. A personal envoy from Sarraj delivered the proposal, which is also believed to be mediated by at least two Arab countries.
The official said that Sarraj sent a letter to Haftar containing a proposal to establish a new presidential council for the UN-backed GNA and a new government before the parliamentary and presidential elections planned by the mission.
“The offer also includes Haftar as head of the Libyan military establishment, but with the integration of the GNA’s Ministry of Defense under the general leadership LNA, in addition to granting Haftar quota in administrative portfolios,” the official added.
However, Haftar rejected the political deal offered by Sarraj, and informed his envoy that he did not recognize the legitimacy of the grounds on which the GNA, with Sarraj on its head, remained in power.
Haftar argued that the legal mandate of Sarraj’s Presidential Council ended in December.
In the meantime, Libyan sources said there is a qualitative shift in unspoken coordination between Haftar and the United States administration led by President Donald Trump on counterterrorism in Libya.
US State Department officials and African leaders, known as AFRICOM, last week held secret talks with Haftar during his visit to Amman where he also met officials from the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
Haftar’s LNA did not criticize air strikes launched by US aircraft in southern Libya.