EU and Russia to negotiate a deal on Haftar

EU and Russia to negotiate a deal on Haftar

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LIBYAPROSPECT – Editorial

Sources said that diplomats from European countries attempt a final effort to persuade Russia to discontinue its support of the commander of the army of the House of Representatives (HoR), General Khalifa Haftar, who aims to gain complete military power in Libya.

Haftar visited Moscow a few times to request military support to help him in his war in Libya. However, European diplomats are now fearing Haftar joining the groups of Russian-backed secular authoritarian leaders in the middle east, such as Bashar Al-Asad of Syria or Abdel Fatah El-Sisi of Egypt.

The EU is hoping that Russia will work alongside with the United States to persuade Haftar to focus on achieving a military role, but under the command of the civilians within the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed up by the United Nations.

Many observers have commented on the EU continuously switching positions and being inconsistent with its stance in the Libyan conflict and the middle east in general. In 2011, they helped the Libyan people to overthrow the deceased tyrant Muammar Gaddafi, but then never saw the mission through until the end goal of stability was reached. However, observers believe that their lack of support after the revolution led to the migrant crisis, because of the security vacuum, which began in the wake of the revolution.

Observers also go on to say, that the EU used Libya as a pawn in a political game of geopolitical power. After the revolution, European countries did not focus on helping the whole country, they only supported certain factions and even claimed to be against Haftar and in support of the GNA, but late last year French helicopters were shot down, and recordings show that they were, in fact, supporting Haftar. Some observers add that France, who claimed none of their troops was in Libya, were left in shame when the truth came afloat.

Now, with Russia entering the game, the Europeans are fearing losing influence, and again have fumbled, from ruling out Haftar from being a part of the GNA to now bending again in saying that he should settle for a military position within the GNA. Observers see this as a final attempt by Europe to prevent Russia winning influence in Libya.

Multiple observers claim that Europe is trying to be on the winning side at the end of this conflict, they assume that the US President, Donald Trump, and the President of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, would work together to end up supporting Haftar.

The Italian Foreign Minister, Angelino Alfano aims to meet with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss the role of Haftar in Libya. With many observers criticizing Europe’s actions in the past six years of the crisis, will they make amends and work constructively with resolving the crisis? Or will they continue their same old inconsistent ways?

The scene in Libya is unclear about the situation of Haftar who still refuses to recognize the GNA and to meet its head, Fayez Al-Sarraj.

The big question, some observers ask about the EU, and their relation with Haftar is “are the Europeans trying to let Haftar go with what he did in Benghazi and what is he still trying to do in planning to attack Tripoli?