Aguila Saleh to Asharq Al-Awsat: Haftar, Sarraj Meeting is Impossible

Monday, 17 June, 2019 - 05:45 -

Aguila Saleh to Asharq Al-Awsat: Haftar, Sarraj Meeting is Impossible

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Libyan parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh. (Reuters)
Cairo - Sawsan Abu Hussein
Libyan parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh blamed “some forces in the international community” for the failure of holding the elections in his country.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat from Cairo, Saleh said Libyans should be encouraged to cast their ballots without foreign intervention.

“The political path from the beginning was wrong, and then the end will be certainly wrong,” he said, explaining: “The former UN envoy, Martin Kobler, was supposed to assist Libya in enforcing the laws regulating the authorities, especially as it is an independent state with laws, an elected parliament, a constitution and courts. The transition of power in these cases is known.”

“But what happened was that the Muslim Brotherhood did not get seats in parliament, so they revolted; the international community disregarded the constitution and the elected parliament, and it started dealing with a government of its choice,” Saleh noted.

“Therefore, the Libyan people cannot accept a government that was imposed by international agreement and not by their own choice. The UN mediator was supposed to be a fair mediator for all parties, not just an employee of the United Nations and international community,” he added.

Asked about the Skheirat agreement, which was signed by the Libyan parties in December 2015, Saleh noted that the Libyan people did not delegate those who participated in the agreement.

“Legitimacy is granted by the people, not by foreign forces… These mistakes led to the delay of the political solution in Libya. Today we need to remove everyone’s hands off Libya. Assistance should only be in the elections,” he emphasized.

The speaker stressed that there would be no return to the Skheirat agreement.

“But we want to go to the elections. If [Government of National Accord head Fayez] al-Sarraj has popularity, he has to resort to the ballot boxes,” he said.

On whether the current situation was adequate for holding the polls, he noted that 85 percent of the population supported this demand.

“It is the only road that will lead to a solution,” he said. “The Libyans reject all that is imposed on them from abroad. We are a united people and a cohesive social fabric, but foreign interference is distorting this cohesion.”

He said he expected the elections to be held at the beginning of 2020, adding that the Libyan National Army (LNA), African Union and international community could handle necessary security arrangements.

On Washington’s efforts to hold a meeting between LNA commander Khalifa Haftar and Presidential Council chief Sarraj, he remarked: “A meeting between them is impossible, especially after Libyans were killed and the head of the Presidential Council was blamed for it.”

Asked about his relationship with UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, Saleh emphasized that he was biased to the GNA, “which is not considered as a party to dialogue.”

“The parliament has already rejected this government and has not given it its confidence,” he added.

Furthermore, he accused Qatar and Turkey of supporting groups in Tripoli that the LNA considers "terrorist", noting that the army should “carry out its duty towards the security and stability of the homeland.”