The Speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) Aqila Saleh said his political roadmap, which he announced on last Monday, was drafted by Russian experts working with HoR members in Libya.
In a tribal gathering to rally his supporters after Khalifa Haftar’s declaration of coup on the Libyan Political Agreement, Saleh said the presence of Russians in Libya wasn’t a secret, adding that they had provided him with the political initiative to endorse it as fighting in southern Tripoli became an imminent defeat for Haftar’s forces.
Saleh told the tribespeople in the gathering that the political initiative of the Russians called for a politic meeting to form a new Presidential Council and a ceasefire near Tripoli as “conditions on the frontlines became very difficult”.
He commented on Haftar’s popular mandate for ruling Libya by saying that the mandate should be given to someone for things they own not for things they don’t.
Saleh added that the Tobruk-based HoR was working as usual, calling on his eastern supporters to speak out their loyalty in publicly published statements so that the HoR members wouldn’t go to join the Tripoli-based HoR, adding that if that happened, the HoR members there could take very dangerous decisions.
He said the Turkish intervention in Libya has changed the game as supplies to Haftar’s forces in south Tripoli and Tarhouna had been easy targets for warplanes, adding that the only way to end this was to support the HoR and call for a humanitarian truce.
He also said that he and Haftar could hold meetings in the coming days, adding that there was nothing personal between them and that the final say in such matters would be for the “Cyrenaica community”.
“Those who control Tripoli can rule Libya, so forming a government in Cyrenaica won’t be valuable and won’t receive any recognition.” Saleh said, adding: “let him control Tripoli and form a government then ask for mandate from whomever he chooses”, referring to Haftar.