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Serraj spokesperson vague on Hafter cooperation in south

Mohamed El-Sallak, the official spokesperson for Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraj, was rather vague and evasive when asked about whether the airstrikes in the south of Libya by the Hafter-led Libyan National Army Air Force were conducted in cooperation with the PC.

In his Monday press conference statement, El Sallak (who has now clarified the correct English spelling of his name) spoke about the PC Committee for solving the crisis in the south of Libya, the Africom airstrike that killed two AQIM ‘’leaders’’, the Tawergha issue, Serraj’s meeting with security commanders and the accreditation of seven ambassadors last week.

In the question and answer section of the 12-minute press conference, El-Sallak ostensibly answered seven questions. He refuted Libyan media reports that Faiez Serraj had offered to ‘‘share power with Khalifa Hafter’’ and that the later had refused such an offer.

On the takeover of the ‘‘27 km’’ coastal road checkpoint by Special Operations Forces led by Zintani Emad Trabilsi on 19 March

El Sallak said this had taken place in cooperation with the PC. This seems at odds with what had transpired at the time.

It will be recalled that the takeover of the 27 km checkpoint was labelled unlawful by Tripoli-based forces in an unofficial statement circulated on social media. The statement had no official headed paper, stamps or signatures, however.

At the time there was much speculation as to the real motives behind the takeover of the checkpoint It was not clear if it had been sanctioned by Faiez Serraj or by Osama Juwaili, the former Defence Minister and Serraj’s Western Region Military Commander.

Juwaili and Trabulsi had operated together last November in a what was thought to be a joint LNA-Presidency Council military operation sanctioned by Serraj – to attack ‘‘Qaddafi supporters and criminal’’ in the Wershafana region.

On the possible cooperation with Hafter forces, El Sallak added that the PC would make all efforts to reduce bloodshed and all efforts in fighting terrorism.


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