General Khalifa Haftar, commander in chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), refused a meeting requested by Martin Kobler head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
|Colonel Ahmed Mesmari, LNA official spokesperson, made the claim on his official Twitter and Facebook accounts. His tweet said: "LNA General Command rejects a meeting request by @Kobler SRSG." The message did not say when the request was made.|
" ...the United Nations is and will continue to engage everyone in the search for peace in Libya..We will knock on every door and we will meet with anyone we believe can help end the conflict and bring stability to Libya’’. The ”only people and organizations we will not talk to, are the groups designated as terrorist by the United Nations’.’When comments were made that such a meeting might be a waste of time, Alam replied that, "the only time wasted is when we don't discuss peace. UNSMIL's had is always stretched to reach out to all sincere Libyans who want an end to the suffering of their people". The statement concluded:”(UNSMIL) will stop at nothing to seek and achieve what all Libyans want – peace and unity for the country’.’ When one removes all the rhetoric, Alam's reply simply confirm's the statement of the LNA General Command.
At that meeting, it was believed that Kobler had convinced Hafter to support the LPA in return for support of a Libyan National Army, fighting terrorism and supplying arms to the LNA after the approval of and a request by the Government of National Accord (GNA).I do not know who the people are who believed this. Haftar did not issue any statement saying he supported the LPA, and his supporters have consistently tried to avoid having the HoR vote on the issue. The Herald notes that relations between the two have cooled. I am not sure they were ever warm. The Herald claims:
However, it seems that relations between the two have cooled as the Presidential Council and a large number of members in the HoR seem to be determined to avoid appointing Hafter as the General Commander of the unified GNA-led LNA.This is reflected in the refusal of HoR president Ageela Salah to convene the HoR for a meeting to approve the GNA prior to dropping article 8 of the LPA. Article 8 stipulates that upon the approval of the GNA by the HoR all main sovereign positions, including Hafter’s position, all revert to the PC/GNA.While a large number of PC members and also the State Council members want to avoid appointing Haftar as commander of a unified LNA under the GNA, there is no evidence that a large number of HoR members want to avoid this. They want Haftar to remain as commander of the LNA, both those who support the GNA in principle and those who are against supporting it. Those, such as Salah, who oppose approving the GNA want Section 8 removed so that Haftar will remain. But so do those who support the GNA. Neither group in the HoR is reluctant to have Haftar inslalled as commander in chief of the LNA. Both parties demand he remain as commander in chief not just the minority who support Haftar. Both factions support Haftar.