Libya close to unifying its armed forces

The country's two military factions have agreed to move forward on this issue, as well as on "the national reconciliation programme" and the expulsion of foreign mercenaries

PHOTO/AFP  -   The Chief of Staff of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, Major General Abdel Razzaq Al-Nadori, is received by Lieutenant General Mohammad Ali al-Haddad (c), Chief of Staff of the Libyan Army.

During an unprecedented meeting in Tripoli, the Libyan 5+5 Military Committee has raised the possibility of appointing a head of the armed forces, thus unifying the two armies. As the joint communiqué notes, the meeting focused on "the need to appoint a chief of staff for the military institution and specifically to initiate steps to unify the institution," as reported by Asharq.

The two-day summit was led by the military leaders of the two warring factions: Lieutenant General Abdel Razzaq Al-Nadori, chief of staff of Marshal Khalifa Haftar's forces, and Lieutenant General Muhammad Al-Haddad, chief of staff of the military forces of the Government of National Unity (GNU). As reported by Arab media, the meeting was made possible following an invitation by Al-Haddadi to Al-Nadori to the capital.

El Jefe del Estado Mayor General del Gobierno de Unidad Nacional de Libia, Muhammad Al-Haddad, acordo con Abdul Razzaq Al-Nadori, su homólogo en las fuerzas orientales dirigidas por Khalifa Haftar, las formas de completar los pasos para unificar las fuerzas armadas PHOTO/SAVUNMA BAKANLIGI
PHOTO/SAVUNMA BAKANLIGI - The Chief of General Staff of the Government of National Unity of Libya, Muhammad Al-Haddad, agreed with Abdul Razzaq Al-Nadori, his counterpart in the eastern forces led by Khalifa Haftar, on ways to complete the steps to unify the armed forces.

The Libyan 5+5 Military Committee, a space for dialogue between the warring parties, has also pledged to preserve the ceasefire declared in October 2020 and backed by the United Nations. In addition, the two parties have agreed to "the total rejection of the return to fighting, the renunciation of violence and support for the civilian state", according to the Libya Herald.

The Libyan newspaper also indicates that, during the meeting, both administrations acknowledged "the efforts of the committee" and pledged to continue with what was previously implemented, as well as the formation of a parallel commission to "follow up on the file of detainees and missing persons" and "advance the programme of national reconciliation and the return of displaced persons from all over the country to their homes"

El primer ministro interino de Libia, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, habla durante una ceremonia de graduación militar en la capital, Trípoli, el 3 de julio de 2022 AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA
AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA - Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah speaks during a military graduation ceremony in the capital Tripoli on 3 July 2022.

In the same way that the return of Libyan citizens who have had to flee the multiple conflicts has been addressed, the Libyan 5+5 Military Committee discussed the departure of mercenaries from the country, as well as other foreign fighters. They also agreed to develop a plan to initiate border patrols to protect the borders, prevent illegal immigration, organised crime and terrorism, the communiqué said.

Cadetes libios desfilan durante una ceremonia de graduación militar en la capital, Trípoli, el 3 de julio de 2022 AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA
AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA - Libyan cadets parade during a military graduation ceremony in the capital Tripoli on July 3, 2022.
UN and US praise meeting 

"I am encouraged by the outcome of the meeting between General Haddad and General Al-Nadori," Stephanie Williams, UN envoy to Libya, wrote on Twitter. "His spirit of compromise is a model for the political class," she added. Meanwhile, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has welcomed "this important dialogue". UNSMIL also "continues to support the security talks, in particular through the Joint Military Committee".

El jefe del Estado Mayor del autoproclamado Ejército Nacional Libio (LNA), el general de división Abdel Razek al-Nazuri (C-L), se reúne con el teniente general Mohammad Ali al-Haddad (C-R), jefe del Estado Mayor del ejército libio, a su llegada al aeropuerto internacional de Mitiga el 18 de julio de 2022 PHOTO/AFP
PHOTO/AFP - Abdel Razzaq Al-Nadori meets Muhammad Al-Haddadi

The US embassy in the North African country praised "progress on Libya's security path towards a unified military institution".  

Libya resumes production and export of oil field 

Amid meetings of Libya's 5+5 Military Committee, the El Feel oil field in the south of the country resumed production and export. El Feel suspended its operation after several tribal factions forced its closure last April to demand the resignation of Tripoli's prime minister and GNU, Abdul Hamid Dbeibé, reports EFE. 

Campo petrolífero de El Feel, cerca de Murzuq, Libia REUTERS/AIDAN LEWIS
REUTERS/AIDAN LEWIS - El Feel oil field, near Murzuq, Libya

The resumption of the field coincides with the recent controversial replacement of the chairman of the National Oil Corp (NOC), the company that runs the country's oil and gas sector. Farhat Bengdara will replace Mustafa Sanalla after eight years at the helm of the Libyan company

Fathi Bashagha, exministro del Interior de Libia. Bashagha, fue nombrado primer ministro en un desafío a un gobierno de unidad en Trípoli AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA
AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA - Fathi Bashagha, former Libyan Interior Minister. Bashagha, was appointed prime minister in a challenge to a unity government in Tripoli.

 Shortly after the Dbeibé government's announcement, Sanalla rejected the decision and claimed that the prime minister's mandate had expired. Libya currently has two prime ministers: Dbeibé in Tripoli and Fathi Bashagha, appointed by the House of Representatives in Tobruk, in the east of the country.