1-8 August: Misratan and LNA Delegations Bridge Divides in Cairo

Aug 9, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 1-3 August, Egypt’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hijazi facilitated mediation talks in Cairo between two Libyan delegations, one comprising Misratans and the other representatives from the Libyan National Army (LNA) and eastern Libya. Hijazi had discussions with each delegation alone, as well as a joint discussion with both delegations, reportedly rebuffing attempts by eastern Libyan delegates to set preconditions for the dialogue. Hijazi issued a statement on the basic points of agreement between both delegations which included respect of Libya’s unity and sovereignty, avoiding bloodshed, building a civilian state, discarding all kinds of foreign intervention and emphasizing the need to fight terrorism and criminal groups, as well as outlawing militias. On 6 August, Hijazi also met Khalifa Haftar to discuss the Egyptian mediation with Misrata.

The Misratan municipal council (which has recently been targeted by anti-Haftar hardliners protesting against the ongoing political rapprochement) made a statement praising the talks in Egypt, expecting them to lead to a strengthening of relations between Egypt and Misratan actors and to facilitate political reconciliation in Libya. However, indications of the tensions brewing in Misrata became apparent when members of the GNA-aligned al-Bunyan al-Marsus force made a statement on 4 August saying that they would work with other military officers from western Libya to elect a new general command for the Libyan Army under the GNA’s Presidential Council.

On 4 August, an IED blast hit worshippers leaving a mosque in Sidi Faraj area in Benghazi. The explosion reportedly targeted Salah Latiwesh, who is the leader of the Magharba tribe in the Oil Crescent and is a key tribal ally of Khalifa Haftar. The explosion wounded at least seven people, a medical official said, but left Latiwesh unharmed. Latiwesh was wounded as he left the same mosque in November last year, two months after Haftar’s LNA forces secured control of several key oil terminals with Magharba support.