The eastern-based Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Chief of Staff, General Abdel-Raziq Al-Nathouri, stressed that there is no room for tribal, partisan, and political affiliations inside the military institution. The military is one of the most important pillars of the state and only recognizes the Libyan identity of all citizens.
These remarks came in Al-Nathouri’s speech during his meeting with the western region’s Chief of Staff, General Mohamed Al-Haddad, in Benghazi on Thursday.
He added that the Libyan military leaders, no matter how divergent both sides’ views, are capable of achieving rapprochement and bridging the gap as soon as possible. The Libyan military leader reiterated his commitment to establishing a unified Libyan army.
“The army in Libya’s West, East, and South is far moved from political strife and will not be a tool for political conflict,” Al-Nathouri confirmed. He added that the LNA will never be a tool for any political party, saying, “We are ready to protect the elections if Libyans agree on it and we are able to do so.”
The LNA’s Chief of Staff added, “we will support our people and their choice when it comes to holding fair elections.”
Last month, Libya’s 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) met in Tripoli in the presence of the United Nations (UN) Envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily. The meeting was attended by Al-Nathouri and Al-Haddad, in addition to security units in the western, eastern, and southern regions.
The United Nations Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) said that the discussions focused on the role of the military and security institutions in providing a conducive environment for holding free and fair elections in 2023.
The meeting emphasized that “dialogue should be Libyan–Libyan, inside Libya, reject any foreign interference in Libyan affairs. As well as reiterate their full commitment to the outcomes of the dialogue between the military and security commanders that were decided during their first and second meetings held respectively in Tunis and Tripoli.”
They rejected all forms of violence throughout the entirety of Libya’s territory, stressing the “continuation of work towards unifying the military institutions through the Chiefs of Staff; unifying the security institutions; and the rest of the state institutions.”
The meeting also reaffirmed the need to form a unified government, in addition to increasing efforts to address the challenges facing displaced people and those affected by the fighting.
The attendees reiterated the need for the completion of national reconciliation and reparation efforts, commitment to pursue elections, and the need for the Libyan Parliament and the High Council of State (HCS) to complete their tasks.