Saturday, August 29, 2015

Two days of Libyan peace talks take place without one rival government sending representatives

Bernardino Leon, the UN Special Envoy to Libya resumed talks on forming a Government of National Accord in Skhirat Morocco even though one of two rival governments did not show up.
The talks are set to finalize what is now called the Libyan Political Agreement, that includes agreeing on the structure and main officials in a Government of National Accord. The GNC informed Leon that they would not attend the present round of talks. The GNC claimed that it needed to reconstruct its negotiating team after two of its members resigned. The GNC said that it was still committed to the dialogue process and would participate in the next session. Leon said that the UN Support Mission in Libya would intensify its contacts with stakeholders in the coming days to help create the final push towards peace.
A Reuters report suggests that there could be little prospect of progress without one of the main sides in the conflict present. This may not be true as the Tobruk government could discuss with other its choices for the prime minister and one deputy. The GNC could also submit names for the other deputy to be chosen by it and also its position on other issues in the annex. Leon insists that he thinks that he would be in a position to have a final agreement by Sept. 10. Delegates told the Libya Herald that the job of choosing the leaders of a new government would go on whether the GNC team was present or not. The president of the GNC had sent Leon a letter demanding that amendments suggested by the GNC be included in a final draft. Leon claims the draft cannot be amended since it has been initialed by other participants but that concerns of the GNC can be addressed during discussion of the annexes to the agreement. While the GNC rejected that route in earlier talks with Leon, it seems that it must now be reconsidering that stance as it has said that it will attend later rounds of the dialogue after it restructures it negotiating team.
This final push will no doubt include further threats against any who dare refuse to cooperate in implementing a non-agreement that only one of two rival governments accepted in the first place. There is no mention by Leon of the parallel military dialogue between forces loyal to the GNC Tripoli-based government and those of the Tobruk internationally-recognized government commanded by former CIA-asset Khalifa Haftar. Libya Dawn the main forces associated with the GNC reject the agreement. Even more ominously, Haftar also rejects the agreement even though his government accepts it. You would think this would result in an immediate firing of Hafter but any attempt to do this could result in a military coup. In fact, Haftarwould like Libya to be run by a military council. He rejects any ceasefire or negotiations with the Tripoli whom he regards as terrorists. Leon does not mention details such as this. His job is to push for formation of a unity government whose purpose is to legitimize foreign intervention in Libya.
The resignation of Saleh Makhzoum as head of the GNC delegation is reported by the Libya Herald the result of disagreement with president Nuri Abu Sahmain over the continued participation in the dialogue. The pro-GNC Libya Observer said no reason was given for the resignation although it was accepted by president Sahmain. Last week the First Deputy Speaker Abdul-Sadiq said that the GNC had decided to boycott the talks until Leon had ensured that the GNC proposed amendments would be included in the final draft. Even though the GNC decided it did not have that assurance and boycotted these talks it nevertheless claims that it will attend the next round. While all this goes on the Arab league is extending military aid to the Tobruk government and Khalifa Haftar, a subject of EU sanctions, signs a military aid agreement with Jordan. Without Haftar sidelined no political agreement is feasible but he continues on with help from Egypt, the UAE, and now Jordan.
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