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Libya’s Haftar insists UN-backed government no longer legitimate

The commander of Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar has declared that the country’s internationally-recognized government based in Tripoli is no longer legitimate as its mandate has already expired.

Haftar said Sunday that the Government of National Accord (GNA), which resulted out of an agreement in Morocco on December 17, 2015, and was backed by the United Nations, was no longer tenable to rule.

“All bodies resulting from this agreement automatically lose their legitimacy, which has been contested from the first day they took office,” said the strongman whose forces dominate much of eastern Libya.

Haftar’s LNA and elements within a rival administration in eastern Libyan city of Tobruk have rejected the GNA since the very beginning of its inception. Haftar, who enjoys support from Egypt and certain Arab states of the Persian Gulf region, is believed to be vying for ultimate power in Libya although countries to the west of the North African country, including Algeria, see his rise as a threat. He was a general under Muammar Gaddafi, whose fall and death in 2011 sparked a widespread chaos in oil-rich Libya.

The GNA was supposed to serve for a one-year period, renewable only once. However, the UN Security Council insisted Thursday that the 2015 deal in Morocco remained the “only viable framework” to prepare for elections next year. A renewed UN push for peace has effectively failed to bring about a settlement since it was launched in September.

UN’s special representative to Libya Ghassan Salame urged Libyans to set aside differences and put more efforts at reaching “reconciliation and harmony”.

“I urge all parties to heed their voices and refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process,” Salame said in a Sunday statement, adding that Libyans were “fed up with violence.”

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