Belhaj: We Support the Joint Defense Agreement between Turkey and the GNA to Repel Aggression – Al Marsad

Abdelhakim Belhaj, Chairman of the Al-Watan Party, and former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), who is on the wanted list of the Attorney General, said that Algeria can play a vital role in maintaining political balance between the parties involved in the Libyan crisis, in addition to being able to gather the warring parties, and present an initiative for a political solution in Libya.

[Libya, 23 January 2020] – The former LIFG leader disclosed in an interview with Arabi21, a Qatari-sponsored news platform, that “The Berlin conference on Libya, held last Sunday, and scheduled to be held again in early February, does not aim to solve the Libyan crisis, but rather to diminish the Turkish role in Libya and the region, in an endeavour led by France.”

“This is evident through the attempts to weaken the role of Algeria, ensuring the absence of Morocco and Tunisia, giving a general impression that there is no balance between the parties present in the conference. These formal observations also reflect the content of the Libya Summit in Berlin, which ended up repeating the same failed and futile attempts to reconcile the warring parties in Libya,” Abdelhakim Belhaj argued.

Abdelhakim Belhaj claimed that the Libyans are counting on the solid ground of what he described as an “international legitimacy reflected by the Government of National Accord and the Presidential Council” as well as the international community justice that rejects military coups, in addition to the “bold neighbouring countries that stand together against the putschists who resort to the force of arms to resolve political differences,” as he put it.

Belhaj called on the Presidential Council and the GNA to conduct a speedy and urgent review of its political and military performance, especially since the majority of the military forces of the Libyan army of the Gaddafi era are concentrated in the western region of Libya. He urged the GNA to form a national army and security forces capable of “protecting legitimacy and securing Libya.”

“He who defends his land does not need to bring in forces to defend him as the rebels do by bringing in the Russians, the Janjaweed, and mercenaries from countries known to support military rebellions against legitimacy,” the former LIFG leader alleged.

“We are seeking a political agreement that ends the war with an international reference, an agreement that stops the military attacks in Libya and returns the forces that implement it to its former positions, in addition to the establishment of a civilian state in which power is rotated according to internationally recognized democratic mechanisms,” Belhaj continued.

In response to whether he alludes to the absurdity of betting on the so-called international legitimacy as well as Turkish support for the Government of National Accord (GNA) to repel the advances of the libyan National Army (LNA) forces toward the capital, Belhaj said,”we support the joint defense agreement signed between Turkey and Libya, but we are talking about whether or not the Government of National Accord will recruit mercenaries to defend itself?”

“Our view is that the Government of National Accord and the Presidential Council have enough fighters to repel the aggression and establish security and peace in Libya, with little military support, which is permitted according to all laws. The GNA is a ‘legitimate government’ and has the right to conclude joint cooperation agreements with the rest of the countries,” Belhaj claimed.

Belhaj considered that the recommendations of the Berlin conference relevant to the need to adhere to a rigid arms embargo imposed on the Libyan rivals are specifically intended against the military support of Turkey to the GNA, and not to all the Libyan rivals, as he claimed, wondering how the LNA Commander-in-Chief could achieve all these advances without the presence of international armament, as he alleged.

“The  countries that embedded the item of the cessation of arms supplies to Libya are the parties that support the rebellion against the UN recognized and legitimate government,” he claimed.

© Al Marsad English (2020)