By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 21 March 2017:
Britain must “urgently engage” with Khalifa Hafter and the Libyan National Army (LNA) a report has recommended, following the visit of a delegation led by a British MP to east Libya earlier this month.
London should also reconsider its view of the Presidency Council’s (PC) Government of National Accord (GNA) “and acknowledge its limited capacity to deliver any kind of governance or security for Libya.”
Earlier this month, a mission led by Kwasi Kwarteng MP visited Hafter in Marj and House of Representatives’ (HoR) president Ageela Saleh in Tobruk. Although made up of members of the UK’s ruling Conservative Party, it was not an official British government group.
The report urged greater cooperation with the House of Representatives. It said that both Hafter and Salah desired closer relations with the UK. They had also complained of a lack of money.
All the soldiers Kwarteng and his colleagues saw were described as being well equipped and wearing smart military uniforms.
The delegation commented on the large degree of stability they saw in the east. They did however mention seeing the long queues for cash at banks.
They concluded that the LNA had a role to play in combating the smuggling of migrants. “The UK should support the LNA to secure Libya’s borders and bring an end to the illegal trafficking of people from Libya’s sea ports. This is urgent on both humanitarian and security grounds.”
Meanwhile, the PC was described as reliant on Islamist militias and “not democratic”. They described Britain’s support for the PC as “baffling.” They said PC head Faiez Serraj is derided in the east as an “ineffectual figurehead.”
While the HoR was called a “flawed and somewhat disorganised body,” they believed that it nonetheless offered a “starting point for Libya’s democratic development if the country can achieve a measure of political stability in the near future.”
The report was published by the Conservative Middle East Council (CMEC) and co-authored by Kwarteng and CMEC director Leo Doherty who also visited Libya with the delegation.