The Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, announced on Monday its rejection of a security deal the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) had suddenly struck with Qatar.
In a statement, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari slammed Qatar, “one of the world’s greatest sponsors of terrorism, for using its agents in Libya today to sign a so-called security agreement.”
He slammed the deal as a violation of the Geneva dialogue and a “suspicious” attempt to undermine the ceasefire agreement that was brokered by the United Nations last week.
The ceasefire, he added, is aimed at ending the escalation on the ground and “destructive” foreign meddling in Libyan affairs.
The LNA statement underlined concerns over Qatar and Turkey – the GNA’s main backers - seeking to obstruct the ceasefire.
The GNA Interior Ministry announced on Monday the signing of a security agreement with Qatar on combating terrorism, drug smuggling and money laundering.
The deal was unveiled during a surprise visit by Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha and Foreign Minister Mohammed Siala to Doha where they met with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Meanwhile, the High Council of State, which is affiliated with the GNA, announced its rejection of the ceasefire, saying it was “struck between a legitimate authority and a rebel force,” a reference to the LNA.
“The ceasefire is in no way whatsoever a recognition of the legitimacy of the aggressor,” it continued.
GNA Defense Minister Salah al-Namroush, meanwhile, stressed the need to bolster joint cooperation with the “Turkish ally” and the continuation of the joint training programs at his ministry.
He said on Sunday that the ceasefire does not address and “has nothing to do” with the GNA’s military cooperation with Ankara.
The security and military training should be the focus, now more than ever, especially if the ceasefire is respected and peace is restored in the country, he remarked.
He added that the Defense Ministry was committed to the truce, accusing Haftar of continuing to amass his forces, fortify his positions and bring in mercenaries.