According to Khalid al-Sharif, a former senior Libyan official and one of the current military leaders affiliated with the UN-backed Government of National Accord, finding a solution to the Libyan crisis hinges on Morocco’s efforts. Speaking to Yabiladi on Monday, al-Sharif answers questions related to behind the scenes of the crisis in Libya.
How do you describe the current situation in Libya?
The battle to defend Tripoli is still ongoing. The government of national accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, is regaining lost ground. Today, we have successfully advanced near the Tripoli airport area, and fighting continues to force Haftar’s forces to retreat and retreat.
There is a big difference between the weapons used by the government of national accord and those held by the Haftar militias. The weapons and equipment on which the government of national accord depends are for the most part inherited from the old regime. On the other hand, Haftar forces use modern Emirati armored vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Does Haftar’s offensive to seize Tripoli overturn the Skhirat agreement?
Of course he did. I think everything is clear now. The Libyans were to attend a conference a few days before the launch of the offensive to seize Tripoli. Now there is no more room for political dialogue.
Who supports Haftar and who supports the government of national accord?
The countries that openly support Haftar are known, namely the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France. The government of national accord stands alone against Haftar, without relying on modern weapons.
Khalid al-Sharif, a former Libyan official. / Ph. DR
Qatar and Turkey support the al-Sarraj government, which enjoys international support. But this support is only political, unlike other countries standing on the other side.
Tunisia and Algeria support the Skhirat agreement, supporting the political solution without interfering in the crisis.
Do you believe that the government of national accord has been abandoned by the international community?
Sadly, the international community shows sympathy for Khalifa Haftar. During the signing of the Skhirat agreement, it was stated that violation of the agreement would result in international sanctions.
However, Haftar and the Tobruk-based government of Abdullah al-Thani did not respect this agreement and did not recognize the government of al-Sarraj. The international community has not reacted to this, without imposing sanctions on the party that violated the agreement.
What do you think of the Moroccan position regarding the situation in Libya?
We hope that Morocco will play a more important and more active role, especially since the Kingdom and Libya are members of the Arab Maghreb Union and the relations and ties are strong between the two countries.
We realized that Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are playing a negative role in the Libyan crisis, but we hope that Morocco will play a positive role, especially since the Skhirat agreement is closely linked in Morocco.