By Khaled al-Jayoushi and Saifuddin al-Trabulsi
An alternative agreement to a UN-backed deal signed last year by Libya’s rival camps in the Moroccan city of Skhirat will be unveiled within weeks, Colonel Ahmed al-Mesmary, a spokesman for forces loyal to Libyan army chief Khalifa Haftar, said Tuesday.
Speaking in an interview with Egyptian daily Al-Wafd, al-Mesmary said that implementation of the Skhirat agreement had "reached an impasse" because it had "failed to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people".
"Libyan tribal leaders are now holding regular meetings in the eastern city of Ajdabiya with a view to hammering out a new deal," al-Mesmary was quoted as saying.
The new deal "will replace the current Skhirat agreement", he added, without providing any additional details.
Al-Mesmary, who is currently visiting Cairo, also denied the presence of foreign military bases in Libya, describing recent speculation to this effect as "rumor".
It was not possible for Anadolu Agency to obtain immediate comment on al-Mesmary’s assertions from brokers of last year’s Skhirat agreement.
Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
In the wake of Gaddafi’s departure, the country’s stark political divisions yielded two rival seats of government -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- each of which boasts its own legislative assembly and military capacity.
Last year, the two rival governments signed a UN-sponsored agreement in Skhirat, which subsequently led to the formation of a unity government.
The unity government, however, has so far failed to assume its ruling mandate across the troubled North African country, while armed conflict remains rife between Libya’s warring political factions.
In a related development Wednesday, Mansour al-Hasadi, a member of Libya’s Supreme State Council, called on the country’s Presidential Council, the Tobruk-based parliament and the international community to intervene to stop pro-Haftar forces from shelling Libya’s eastern port city of Derna.
The Supreme State Council and the Presidential Council both function under the auspices of Libya’s unity government.
In exclusive comments to Anadolu Agency, al-Hasadi said Derna remained subject to sustained aircraft and artillery assaults by pro-Haftar forces, which are supported by the Tobruk-based parliament.
"The aggression against Derna has recently escalated," al-Hasadi said. "There has been a deliberate targeting of the city’s vital infrastructure, including energy facilities."
He went on to describe the alleged targeting of Derna’s civilian areas by pro-Haftar forces as "tantamount to war crimes".
In his nominal capacity as commander-in-chief of Libya’s armed forces, al-Hasadi demanded a halt to the aggression against Derna -- by force if necessary.
"If the Presidential Council is unable to stop the tragedy unfolding in Derna, I urge it to ask for the help of the international community," he asserted, adding that he had recently asked UN Libya envoy Martin Kobler to take on an active role in stopping the aggression.
In late 2014, parts of Derna were captured by the Daesh terrorist group. In mid-2015, Derna’s Shura Council of Mujahedeen -- a coalition of Islamist militias fiercely opposed to Haftar -- defeated Daesh and assumed control of the city.
For more than one year, the coastal city -- with a population of roughly 100,000 -- has been subject to an intense onslaught by pro-Haftar forces within the context of Haftar’s so-called "Operation Dignity".
Despite repeated attempts to capture the city, however, pro-Haftar forces have been unable to do so.
For the last year, Derna’s local council has issued calls to end Haftar’s siege of the city and has chastised both the unity government and Tobruk parliament for failing to bring an end to the violence.