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Secret meeting gives Haftar time to end war in Benghazi

The Arabic Huffington Post Website published a report, translated by LIBYAPROSPECT, stating their attainment, through reliable sources, of informational, revealing a secret meeting between Egyptian and Libyan officials in the presence of delegates from the UAE on July 26th and 27th. Mainly to discuss the Presidential Council’s (PC) ability along with General Khalifa Haftar’s forces to face Benghazi’s “revolutionaries”.

According to Huffington Post, both Egyptian and Emirati sides suggested a time limit, not longer than a month, for Haftar to end the war in Benghazi by totally defeating Benghazi’s Brigades, in addition to the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries and ending his “Karama” operation.

The time limit is due to Haftar becoming a burden to the countries supporting him, specifically Egypt, the UAE, and France. Especially since supporting any side of the Libyan conflict is considered a clear breach of the UN’s Security Council resolutions.

It is to be mentioned that France faced heavy criticism from some European nations for their military support to Haftar, which France admitted officially two weeks ago the death of three of their soldiers in a Helicopter crash in Benghazi, an incident that halted the Libyan political agreement.

The sources confirmed that Egypt and the UAE proposed the reconstruction of the PC to its Chairman Fayez Al-Sarraj, through the exclusion of Abdulsalam Kajman, Mohamed Al-Amari, and Ahmed Mitig, and replacing them with more efficient members able to face the rebels.

The Egyptian side suggested Fawzi Abdul-Aal, whom Egyptian intelligence believe is more equipped to deal with the rebels and besiege the head of the State Council, Abdul-Rahman Swehli, who is considered part of the rebels.

The Egyptian-Emirati suggestions also include the backing of Defense Minister, El-Mahdi El-Barghathi, as long as he continues fighting in Benghazi against the Shura Council and Benghazi Brigades, both of which Egypt and the UAE described as “Islamic”.

The sources revealed that the meeting was held under the supervision of Egyptian intelligence, and was conducted by the French. Al-Sarraj and his deputies Moussa AL-Koni and Fathi El-Majbari attended the meeting, the rest of the PC were not invited. El-Mahdi El-Barghathi attended, and so did the head of the House of Representatives (HoR), Ageela Saleh. Haftar also took part in the meetings however the Egyptian Diplomacy did not announce his arrival.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry officially announced that the purpose of these meetings is to bridge the gap between the PC led by Al-Sarraj, and the HoR led by Saleh who refuses to ratify the newly formed government under the Skhirat Political Agreement late last year.

In an interview with “Corriere Della Sera,” Al-Sarraj stated, on Wednesday the 10th of August 2016, that his country does not need foreign on-the-ground troops to assist the forces fighting the Islamic State (IS).

Washington Post revealed, on Tuesday, that Special Operation troops exist on Libyan soil, and are directly assisting Libyan forces in the city of Sirte for the first time.

In the interview, Al-Sarraj stated that “we do not require foreign troops on Libyan soil.” He added that “I only demanded accurate, well placed and times air strikes, always in coordination with us.” He followed by saying that “our forces are capable of completing the task alone upon receiving air cover.”

The Government of National Accord (GNA) forces “Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous” launched a campaign on May 12th to regain control over the city of Sirte, located on the Mediterranean Sea, 450km to the east of Tripoli.

The US forces have been conduction air strikes against the IS in coordination with the GNA since the beginning of this month. Washington Post confirmed that the US forces have been cooperating with the Brits, exchanging intelligence between each other.

Al-Sarraj warned of the “dangers” of the IS which can efficiently utilize various telecommunication devices to send its agents to Italy and Europe. Adding that he “won’t be surprised if he comes to find that the IS fighters hid between refugees on the boats heading towards Italian shores.”

Italy had recognized the GNA and allowed the US to use its military bases and air spaces to conduct air strikes against the IS locations in Libya.

On the other hand, Al-Sarraj said that he “might” visit Russia “soon,” affirming that his government maintains “good relations” with Russia.

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