Parliament holds first session in Benghazi, supports LNA

Libya’s House of Representatives (HoR) held on Saturday the first official session in its headquarters in Benghazi, announcing support for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

The military operation in Tripoli came on the parliament’s top agenda during their discussions. Since it was elected on August 4, 2014, the parliament convened in Tobruk, which was controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), but convened in Benghazi as it came under the LNA’s control in July 2017.

HoR speaker Aguila Saleh said Libya will proceed with the awaited elections after the LNA ends its operation in the capital.

“Our army is the only defender of the country’s democracy,” Saleh said.

The parliament also issued a statement by the end of the session demanding Libya’s Interim Government, located in eastern Libya, to assume responsibility towards the “liberated areas’”and provide civilians with their needs.

On April 4, the LNA announced the launch of a military operation against Tripoli. So, all military units loyal to the Government of National Accord geared up to defend the capital. The warring factions are currently involved in battles along the outskirts of Tripoli.

The United Nations has been forced to postpone a carefully planned and potentially watershed national conference on Libya’s political future after the assault on Tripoli.

The two-day conference in the town of Ghadames was due to be attended by 120 delegates on April 14-15. The decision to shelve the summit is a blow to Libya’s democratic forces, who had hoped it might open a path to presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of this year.

Ghassan Salamé, the UN special envoy for Libya, said the UN intended to convene the conference as soon as conditions permitted, but it would be impossible to hold the talks “to the backdrop of artillery shelling and air raids.”


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