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Haftar’s project between Europe and Egypt

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LIBYAPOSPECT – London

The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said that the latest European Union meeting had discussed the possible role of the commander of the army of the House of Representatives (HoR), Khalifa Haftar, in the United Nations-backed government, amid fears of him exerting control over the government.

This comes, while a source inside the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that the minister, Sameh Shoukry, asked, in a meeting with the Emirati counterpart, Abdallah Bin Zayed, Emirati leaders to pressure Haftar to avoid any moves that could escalate new conflicts.

Egyptian sources said that “Haftar opposed the Egyptian efforts to organize a meeting with the head of the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj in Cairo. The proposal was made by Russia, holding to a military approach”. But Johnson said, as reported in The Times, that the Europeans “discussed the need to unify the eastern and western Libya as the Libyan Political Agreement says.”

From her side, the High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy in the European Union, Federica Mogherini, said that “the European Union is willing to facilitate a meeting between Al-Sarraj and Haftar, while continue supporting the PC.”

Such statements by European and Egyptian sources raised questions about the timing, and if Haftar will accept to be assigned the defense minister in the awaited government, besides other issues regarding reservations by local and regional parties.

The Tripoli-based military expert, Adel Abdel Kafi, said that “Haftar supporters are now aware that he is not capable of achieving decisive military victory. Thus they all attempt political settlement, some already drew back support, including Egypt that convened recently with parties who oppose Haftar project.”

He added that “regarding the pressures to restrain Haftar, are all political maneuvers to push all parties towards a peaceful solution away from military confrontations.” He confirmed that “if Haftar was cut off military and political support, he will stop and may totally disappear.”

From his side, the Egyptian international laws professor, Al-Said Abu Al-Khair said that “Haftar resembles Abdul-Fattah El-Sisi, each was assigned a role by the West to perform, the coup succeeds in Egypt, unlike Libya. Thus the goal and motive are the same. The European and Egyptian statements are only western orders, assignments to be implemented in time, but it is unlikely that Cairo would draw back support to Haftar”.

The Libyan writer, Abdallah Al-Kabeer, said that “nearly all regional and international players seek the political resolution to the Libyan crisis, with a role to Haftar, especially that he can’t militarily win the war.”

Regarding the Egyptian role, he said that “Egypt’s role witnessed a significant shift towards pushing Haftar to accept the political settlement, but at the same time, Cairo is seeking to guarantee him broad authorities in the Libyan political and military scene.”