Tobruk chiefs fail to show up for Cairo meet: Libyan PM

Cheryl Sanders
February 17, 2017

Libya's conflicting factions agreed to hold presidential elections by February 2018, during a meeting which brought together the rival army chief and the head of the country's unity government in Cairo on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the unity government had earlier said that Fayez Serraj's planned meeting with Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter could lead to a "180-degree turn".

The parties had missed "another precious opportunity that we hoped would be the beginning of a solution to the state of division and suffering" in Libya, he said in a statement.

Libya has been submerged in chaos since the fall of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The planned meeting, al-Sarraj added, had been meant to tackle outstanding differences between the Tobruk-based parliament and al-Sarraj's unity government, based in capital Tripoli.

The agreement followed two days of Egyptian-mediated talks this week in Cairo, according to the Egyptian official.

The controversial head of the self-styled Libyan National Army has established himself as a key player, especially after seizing the country's key oil terminals in September.

Tunisia's foreign ministry said today that Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt's top diplomats would meet on March 1 in Tunis to discuss the Libyan crisis.

Libyan media reported that Sarraj and Haftar did not meet face to face during the talks in Cairo.

A source close to Haftar said yesterday that the strongman had been seeking guarantees that any changes that were agreed would not be blocked by powerful militias from Libya's third city Misrata that have been one of the main armed supports for the unity government.

He said they want it made clear that the presidency council — which Serraj heads — will change, and that it will amend a United Nations -brokered deal that saw it maintaining command of the armed forces under its mandate.

Other reports by iNewsToday