Libya’s eastern-based military leader Khalifa Haftar said on Monday that his army was accepting a “popular mandate” to rule the country.

Iran PressAfrica: He also declared "the end of the Skhirat Agreement," a 2015 United Nations-mediated deal that consolidated Libya's government, in a televised address on his Libya al-Hadath TV channel.

“We announce that the general command is answering the will of the people, despite the heavy burden and the many obligations and the size of the responsibility, and we will be subject to the people’s wish,” he said.

He did not spell out in his brief televised speech on Monday what form the new power structure would take and the wider political ramifications were not immediately clear.

Military commander Khalifa Haftar's forces, the largest of a series of militia and rebel groups in Libya, have been vying for control of the country with the internationally-recognized government based in the capital, advancing on Tripoli in recent months. 

Today, Libya is divided between two centers of power an elected parliament in the country's east, supported by the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in the west, headed by Fayez Sarraj.  

The Haftar-led LNA, supported for years by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and a number of Western countries, controls eastern Libya and has in recent months advanced toward the northern part of the country.


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