Supporters of Libyan renegade general Khalifa Haftar have rallied for him to take over the country as he insisted that the mandate of the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, has expired and the institutions it created are “void”.
The UN-brokered Libyan political agreement, signed in Morocco’s Skhirat in on December 17, 2015, established Libya’s Government of National Accords (GNA) for a one-year period, which could be renewed only once.
The UN said the agreement, which aimed to unite the country’s warring factions, is still in force until a new one is adopted.
But Haftar, who backs a rival administration in the east, rejected the statement.
“The 17th of December has arrived and brought with it the end of the so-called Skhirat agreement,” Haftar, who never recognised the authority of the GNA, said in a televised appearance on Sunday night.
“Therefore all institutions created by this agreement are void,” he added.
“These institutions have not obtained full legitimacy since the first day they started working, and as of today, Libyans feel that they have lost patience and that the promised period of peace and stability has become a faraway dream.”
In a statement, Ghassan Salame, the UN special representative to Libya, urged “all parties to heed their voices and refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process”.
He added that Libyans are “fed up with violence and living in fear” and “hope for a political solution, for reconciliation and for harmony”.
Libya has been locked in a state of violence since 2011, when a popular uprising ended with the overthrow and death of former President Muammar Gaddafi.
Despite peace efforts since then, the country has remained divided between the GNA in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and a Haftar-backed administration in the east.
A new round of UN-backed talks began in September in Tunis, aimed at preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018.
But the talks broke down about a month later without a deal.