Militia fighting in Tripoli to exploit already existing divisions within GNA Presidential Council
On 18 January, UN Special Envoy to Libya presented a comprehensive briefing to the UN Security Council, announcing that the UNSMIL is working on organising its National Conference for Libya within the coming weeks. During his briefing to the Security Council, Salamé insisted on the need for Libyan representatives to agree on “the essential ingredients for a new consensus on a national agenda” prior to the Conference. Ghassan Salamé also reportedly announced that the ceasefire brokered by the UN to put a halt to militia fighting in September 2018 was still in place, despite the recent fighting which took place in Southern Tripoli between the Seventh Brigade, a Tarhuna-based militia, and the Tripoli Protection Force (TPF), a coalition of militias aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA). According to the Libya Herald, fighting broke out between the militia coalitions due to issues of territory control, with the Seventh Brigade accusing the TPF of unauthorised movements on their positions. In respective statements, both coalitiond blamed the resumption of fighting on the GNA and the UNSMIL and their failed governance. According to Sami Zaptia for Libya Herald, the TPF went even further in its statement by declaring that it no longer recognized decisions by GNA head Fayez Al-Sarraj unless they were reached unanimously, as specified in the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). For Zaptia, such a declaration from the TPF is an attempt to exploit the already existing divisions within the GNA Presidential Council (PC) and undermine the power of Fayez Al-Serraj.