Egypt has launched an initiative to solve the crisis in Libya, and in the wake of the internationally recognized government’s achievement, there are important victories in its confrontation with the forces of the military commander, Khalifa Haftar.
The initiative, called the “Cairo Declaration,” includes a cease-fire proposal that begins on Monday, 8 June. The initiative is based on the results of the Berlin Summit, held last January, and ended with an invitation to the parties to the conflict to adhere to the arms embargo to Libya, and work towards a political settlement.
The initiative also includes completing the track of the work of the United Nations-sponsored Military Committee (5 + 5), which includes five military officials from each of the parties to the conflict.
Libya has been in chaos since the overthrowing and killing of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Eastern Libya came under the control of Haftar’s forces, which call themselves the “Libyan National Army,” while the west of the country is controlled by armed groups that support the government of national reconciliation.
Haftar is supported by Russia, the UAE, and Egypt. As for the government of national reconciliation, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, it is supported by Turkey and Qatar.
More than a year ago, eastern Libya forces launched an armed campaign to control the capital, Tripoli.
But the campaign was unsuccessful, as the forces of the Al-Wefaq government announced last Thursday to impose full control on Tripoli, before they succeeded in controlling the city of Tarhuna, the last stronghold of Haftar in western Libya.
On Saturday morning, the Al-Wefaq government announced the start of a military operation to liberate the coastal cities of Sirte and the city of Al-Jafra in the center of the country from the grip of Haftar’s forces, despite its approval a few days ago of new negotiations adopted by the United Nations.
Hours later, the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, announced the new initiative, at a press conference in Cairo, with the participation of Haftar and Aqila Saleh, President of the Parliament of Eastern Libya.
Al-Sisi demanded that the United Nations and the international community compel all foreign parties to “remove foreign mercenaries from all Libyan lands, dismantle the militias and surrender their weapons.”
- Libyan government forces control the last strongholds of Haftar in the west of the country
For his part, Haftar said that “Turkey is trying to block Libya and Egypt”, through its agreement with the government of reconciliation that he described as “unconstitutional”, calling on the Egyptian president to “work to compel Turkey to stop supplying weapons to the militias and return mercenaries to the places from which they came.”
As for Aqeelah Saleh, he called on the Libyans to “turn the page of the past out of the crisis” and seek to draft a constitution and hold elections.
But he said that “the reconciliation government did not adhere to the armistice or the agreements,” and that “Turkey intervened shortly before the army was able to liberate Tripoli from the militias.”
It was not immediately clear the position of the reconciliation government on what was proposed by Egypt.
But Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said earlier on Facebook, “Our battle is still going on and we are determined to extend state control over all of Libyas territory.”