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article imageOp-Ed: LNA head Haftar announces unilateral ceasefire in Libya

By Ken Hanly     May 1, 2020 in Politics
Rebel Libyan Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, who heads his self-declared Libyan National Army (LNA) has declared unilaterally a ceasefire during Ramadan. The move will also help LIbya to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahmed al-Mosmari,
a spokesman for the LNA military commander Khalifa Hifter, said at a news conference that they have stopped all military operations across Libya. He said the unilateral ceasefire was in response to international appeals for a humanitarian truce so authorities could focus on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Haftar declares himself ruler of Libya
The announcement is somewhat of a surprise as Haftar had just declared that he was the ruler of Libya and has a popular mandate to take control of Libya. It is hard to see how he can become ruler unless he captures the capital and nearby areas of the country still under the control of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). Haftar may be attempting to buy time to reorganize and strengthen his forces as he has suffered recent defeats as the GNA has taken coastal areas west of Tripoli and Haftar's year-long siege of Tripoli appears to have failed. Haftar can boast that his ceasefire is in accord with demands from the UN.
In a speech on Monday night, Haftar announced that the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces had "accepted the will of the people" to take over management of the country. There has been no vote of course even in the House of Representatives eastern-based parliament which appears not to have been involved in the decision even though it had been backing Haftar.
Haftar also declared the Skhirat agreement that resulted in the UN-recognized GNA as null and void. The GNA is widely recognized but often with words and not deeds with the exception of Turkey. Haftar receives the support of the UAE, Egypt, Russia and France.
GNA rejects ceasefire
The GNA's ruling Presidential Council said that the GNA forces would continue to defend itself as well as target all groups that were causing bloodshed in Libya. The Council noted that Haftar had violated resolutions passed at the Berlin conference as well as UN Security Council resolutions. Haftar continued to shell Tripoli in violation of all agreed-upon truces.
The GNA statement
read: "There is no trust in Haftar's truce announcement as he is used to breaking his promises and the declaration of coup against the Libyan Political Agreement two days ago is a living proof that he isn't for to be a political or peace partner." It remains to be seen if the GNA will mount a further offensive against Haftar or simply take a defensive position and concentrate upon dealing with the COVID-pandemic for most part if not attacked by Haftar.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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