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Libya: Reports Emerge About Security Cooperation between Haftar, Dbeibeh

Libya: Reports Emerge About Security Cooperation between Haftar, Dbeibeh

Sunday, 19 March, 2023 - 09:45
The head of the interim unity government, Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, in Tripoli (Unity Government)

The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the head of the interim unity government, Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, are having "undisclosed" understandings to coordinate security and military cooperation ahead of the postponed presidential and parliamentary elections, according to informed sources.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the understandings resulted from undeclared meetings held outside Libya between representatives of Haftar and Dbeibeh.

They explained that based on these understandings, the Dbeibeh government would accelerate the dismantling and integrating of armed groups and militias within its security and military apparatus under army conditions.

The sources refused to disclose the place and timing of these meetings or who participated in them.

Based on the agreements, the LNA would allow the Interior Ministry to gradually assume security work under the army's control in the eastern and southern regions, as the government prevents any weapon outside the state's legitimacy.

Last week, interim Interior Minister Imad Trabelsi implicitly indicated his intention to extend the work of his affiliated agencies in the eastern and southern regions, but without going into details.

A source close to Haftar told Asharq Al-Awsat, on condition of anonymity, that the National Army was committed to its pledge to secure the elections and employ its capabilities in this context in cooperation with all local and international parties.

The source refused to disclose specific details and noted that lifting the ban on rearming the Libyan army would be necessary.

Other sources told the Italian agency Nova about forming a joint force from the National Army and the parties affiliated with the Dbeibeh government, which would be sent to the south as a first step towards reunifying the Libyan army.

They said that three battalions representing Tripoli, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan would be merged into this joint force to intervene in the southern regions, provided that its commander is responsible to the chiefs of staff of both parties.

The suggestion was discussed during a meeting of the Security Working Group on Libya, in the presence of members of the Libyan Joint Military Committee (5 + 5), the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, Western ambassadors, and African Union representatives.

Dbeibeh considered that some were trying to plunge Libya into chaos.

He pledged that his government would continue to support everything related to serving the Book of God, calling on the youth to adhere to moderate Islam and to distance themselves from extremism.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is preparing to choose the members of the joint committee (6 + 6), which would, together with the High Council of State, would develop the electoral laws.

Speaker Aguila Saleh’s political aide, Faisal Bualraika, reported that the session scheduled for the following Monday in Benghazi would witness the selection of committee members for the House of Representatives.

He told local media that Saleh would meet with Assistant Secretary Barbara Leaf and the British ambassador to Libya, Caroline Hurndall.

Saleh invited the House of Representatives members to an official session to discuss the general budget for the current year and name members of the joint committee to prepare draft election laws, according to Article 30 of the 13th constitutional amendment.

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