Libya: Marshal Haftar is also losing ground politically
Marshal Hatar in Benghazi in Libya in October 2017. REUTERS / Esam Omran Al-Fetori / File Photo
Text by: Mathieu Galtier Follow
While the forces of the government of national unity of Tripoli launched an offensive on Saturday on the city of Sirte, controlled by Khalifa Haftar, Egypt, the main regional support of the marshal, proposed a cease-fire in Libya to starting Monday morning and a longer term peace plan. A sign that Khalifa Haftar is losing ground militarily, but also and above all politically vis-à-vis his international allies.
From our correspondent in Tunis,
Khalifa Haftar is no longer the undisputed chief of eastern Libya. This is the message that its foreign sponsors are getting through. Saturday in Cairo, to present his peace plan for Libya, the Egyptian president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi invited in addition to Marshal Haftar, Aguilah Saleh, the president of the House of Representatives based in eastern Libya . In office since 2014, the latter was relegated to the background until these days when Haftar's offensive on Tripoli turns into a debacle.
At the end of May, when Haftar gave himself full powers during a televised speech in the form of a stand-off, Aguilah Saleh proposed a roadmap to get the country out of division. The 76-year-old politician had notably started discussions with his Tripoli counterpart, Khaled al-Mishri. Russia then welcomed this initiative, while criticizing the media release of Haftar deemed irrelevant.
Russia and Egypt are therefore ready to negotiate politically with Tripoli in the person of Aguilah Saleh. The United Arab Emirates and the United States immediately accepted Sissi's statement.
But opposite, we do not seem ready to take this diplomatic turn in the immediate future. Khaled al-Mishri declined the offer of ceasefire.
In the late morning of Sunday, residents of the western districts of Sirte began to hear heavy artillery fire from armed groups loyal to the Tripoli national unity government.
► Read also: Libya: the strategic battle of Sirte
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- Abdel Fattah al-Sissi