LibyaPolitics

‘Int’l division’ halts political solution in Libya, Haftar is not Lincoln: Salame

The United Nations special envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame has said there is a “very deep division” at the UN Security Council regarding the conflict in Libya.

Salame added in a Monday interview with Radio France Internationale (RFI) that the Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Khalifa Haftar is “not Abraham Lincoln.”

He said that after nearly eight years of Muammar Gaddafi’s death, Libya’s situation is still “very unstable.”

When asked if he sees another Gaddafi in Haftar, Salame said “this might the opinion of some Libyans. Some might not like him and are afraid of repeating the history once again.

“He has a few supporters,” Salame said, adding that he now understands that Haftar wants to rule the country.

“He is no Abraham Lincoln, he is no big democrat, but he has qualities and wants to unify the country,” Salame said, praising that he is not allowing armed groups in the areas under his control, but also wondering if Haftar can do that elsewhere in Libya.

“Seeing him act, we can be worried about his ways because where he is governing, he does not govern softly, but with an iron fist,” Salame warned.

Commenting on France’s controversial stance of the Libyan conflict, Salame said Paris recognizes the government of Faiez al-Sarraj, maintains relations with it but also considers the past activity of General Haftar against terrorism.

He added that he met earlier with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who assured him that “he would support an attempt to stop this war.”

Earlier in April, Salame expressed his concern about a split at the Security Council over the Libyan crisis as the situation worsens. He revealed the UN mission is in talks with all conflicting parties to reach a ceasefire in Tripoli. He added that the GNA demanded that the LNA withdraws to their previous positions.

France, the U.S., Egypt and other Arab countries support Haftar’s efforts confronting terrorism in Libya. However, the United Nations, Italy, Turkey and many European countries back the GNA.

The LNA launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the Government of National Accord, on April 4, with the aim of “liberating the city from militants.”

At least 278 people have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded in the clashes, according to a toll released last week by the World Health Organization.

The country has been mired in chaos since the uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

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