Libyan elections can be held in 2020: HoR speaker

National elections can be held at the beginning of 2020 after the Libyan National Army (LNA), the African Union and the international community tackle security issues in Libya, speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) Aguila Saleh said Monday.

Saleh told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the majority of Libyans demand holding presidential and parliamentary elections and a peaceful transfer of power.

“It is the only road that will lead to a solution. Libyans reject all that is imposed on them from abroad. We are a united people and a cohesive social fabric, but foreign interference is distorting this cohesion,” he said.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) was expected to hold the National Forum to pave the way for the elections in 2019; however, military operations in the western region and the clashes delayed them.

The speaker of the HoR also accused Turkey and Qatar of supporting the Government of the National Accord (GNA)’s armed groups in Tripoli and hindering the LNA’s military operation to “liberate” the western regions from “terrorist groups.”

In the past period, a number of shipments arrived to Libyan ports from Turkey, one of which carried 40 armored vehicles and other weapons. The arms are claimed to have been received by armed groups in Libya, escalating the tensions.

“Legitimacy is granted by the people, not by foreign forces… These mistakes led to the delay of the political solution in Libya. Today we need to remove everyone’s hands off Libya. Assistance should only be in the elections,” he Saleh said.

As for the U.S. efforts to bring together Commander of the LNA Khalifa Haftar and head of the GNA Faiez al-Sarraj, Saleh added that a meeting between them is “impossible” as the GNA is allegedly blamed for killing many Libyans amid the war.

Meanwhile, Sarraj announced on Sunday an initiative that includes the convention of the Libyan National Forum, in cooperation with the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, to bring together all “influential national forces on the political and social scene,” reach a political and democratic solution and pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections.

“I present today a political initiative for a way out of crisis… (involving) simultaneous presidential and legislative elections before the end of 2019,” Sarraj said in a short speech broadcast by Libyan al-Wataniya TV, without specifying a date for polls.

Sarraj’s initiative, although not new as the National Forum was already being prepared for right before the LNA’s operation on April 4, is a departure from his previous stance that only allowed a ceasefire if Haftar withdrew to his barracks prior to his offensive.

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