Warlord Haftar Wants to Become President of Libya

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Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar has declared himself a candidate in his country’s presidential election next month. In any case, he is up against Saif al-Islam, a son of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed ten years ago.

 

After years of civil war, the situation in the oil-rich country in North Africa has stabilized somewhat. After international mediation, the two main warring parties concluded a permanent ceasefire more than a year ago. “Elections are the only way out of the serious crisis our country has entered,” said 78-year-old Haftar in a televised speech. He officially registers as a presidential candidate later in the day in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The self-proclaimed Field Marshal Haftar controls oil areas in the country’s east with his Libyan National Army (NLA). He had launched an offensive in the west in 2019 and nearly captured the capital Tripoli but had to retreat due to military intervention by Turkey. Haftar received military support from Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

In Paris, leaders from the US, Germany, Italy and Egypt held a summit on Libya last week, threatening sanctions for parties that disrupt the polls. Turkey and Russia must immediately withdraw their mercenaries and troops, French President Emmanuel Macron said. Foreign Minister Ben Knapen was also present, and he emphasized that the Netherlands is committed to a “stable and prosperous” Libya.

Parliamentary elections in Libya have been postponed to January.

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