The statement issued on 19 October by military officers declaring that Khalifa Haftar was a ‘war criminal’ provoked outcry from PC member from eastern Libya Fathi al-Majbari, who condemned the event and demanded a clarification from Serraj and the PC. The PC issued the same statement later, but omitted the reference to Haftar. Informed sources say that Serraj and the PC were blindsided by the organisers, who made their televised condemnation of Haftar after Serraj and the PC members had already left the event. The Misrata Military Council, a key player in the Misratan-led Bunyan al-Marsus coalition, issued a statement on 22 October endorsing the anti-Haftar statement.
On 23 October, Serraj conducted a long TV interview to play down threats to the GNA and to reaffirm that the Libyan Political Agreement was the only way forward. However, the interview has been received rather negatively by a large swathe of the Libyan public, particularly in Eastern Libya. Serraj said Ghwell’s attempted coup would be dealt with without recourse to violence, stating; “We will end this firmly through the force of law”.
On 22 October, Libyan Ambassador to the UAE, Dr. Aref Nayed, formally resigned from his post. Nayed has been a key ally of Haftar since 2014 and is thought to be aiming to become the head of a new GNA, intensifying speculation that Serraj may be on his way out, especially if a new cabinet list is presented to the HoR and rejected.