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Libyan Armed Forces Could be Regionalized Says Kobler

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Martin Kobler, the head of the United Nations envoy to Libya, said on Wednesday that the Libyan army could be decentralized in order to put an end to the political standstill surrounding the formation of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

In an interview with the Associated Press in Cairo, Kobler confirmed that there are ongoing talks to establish regional military councils in Libya’s western, eastern and southern regions. The military leadership of Libya has been a major point of disagreement between the west and the east, specifically the role of General Khalifa Haftar, the Commander of the armed forces loyal to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR).

Kobler had been meeting with various Libyan officials in Cairo this week in an attempt to settle the rivalry between the western and eastern regions in Libya.

Although he said he still favours a “united Libyan army structure,” Kobler hopes that a decentralized army will ease the political tensions and frustrations surrounding the UN-backed unity government.

Kobler noted that until the scattered militia groups give up their weapons a national army cannot be formed. He warned that a civil war could break out if the milias were forced to disband. Rather, he suggests that negotiations should be the way towards a united Libyan army and that regional military councils could possibly be a step towards achieving a national army.

Despite the ongoing talks to establish regional military leadership, the UN envoy said that Haftar rejected his requests for a meeting.

Kobler said that even though the UN-backed government has been given international recognition and support it has not received “national legitimacy” yet.

There is growing concern that without national support the GNA will be unable to successfully steer the country through its political transition until a new constitution is approved that provides the guidelines for elections.

“There is political stalemate, and the security is not good, and there are grave humanitarian problems in the country,” Kobler said.

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