Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rival Libyan governments in no hurry to sign on to Libyan Political Agreement

UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon, after completing dialogue negotiations, prepared a final text of the Libyan Political Agreement(LPA) which was to be considered by the two rival governments this last week.
However, the Eid holiday was on Thursday the 24th. The House of Representatives(HoR) internationally-recognized government in Tobruk apparently has not even met to consider the amended draft. Earlier they had rejected amendments Leon had made to satisfy concerns of the Tripoli-based rival General National Congress(GNC) government. Leon wanted the negotiators to meet shortly after the end of Eid to choose members for the new Government of National Accord. He hoped to start talks Monday but that appears unlikely in that the HoR will send representatives only on Tuesday at the earliest.
The Libya Herald says the HoR will not debate the new LPA draft until Monday or Tuesday next week at the earliest according to HoR member Saad Al-Hashmi. Al-Hashmi said the discussion could even be the following week. He said it all depended upon when members of the HoR returned from the Eid break. Some were out of the country at the Hajj pilgrimage. He claimed that House would wait until all members returned before discussing the draft and whether the HoR would even continue in the dialogue process. If this position represents the actual plans of the HoR, it is a clear rejection of the sense of urgency the UN envoy has been constantly trying to impress upon the dialogue participants, a theme he repeats in his latest press release on the Eid holiday. He does not mention what if any progress there has been in the two legislatures as far as considering the draft is concerned. He does not mention either when the negotiators are to reconvene to choose names for the new government.
Earlier in the week, the president of the HoR, Ageela Gwaider, claimed the HoR had no representatives at the meetings in Skhirat even though there are two members of the HoR team there. The HoR apparently considers that the two who remain are there in a personal capacity but not as representatives of the HoR. The HoR had already rejected an agreement the two had reached with many members who had boycotted the HoR up to now. Leon had praised the agreement as a great breakthrough. After rejecting the amended agreement the HoR had called its representatives back from Skhirat where the talks are being held. However only two of the four negotiators actually returned. One of the two who stayed, Emhemed Shouaib, is actually the head of the team. The team was recalled after the HoR rejected any changes to the earlier draft of the LPA.
On the GNC side, the messages are mixed. GNC dialogue team member, Mohammed Amari, claimed there had been considerable progress in the dialogue and hailed the new draft of the LPA. He said most of the concerns of the GNC government had been met. Amari said:"We will go back to Skhirat after Eid to continue the talks." Press TV claims that Tripoli officials have urged a freeze in the dialogue talks until General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the HoR armed forces, ceases his offensive in Benghazi. A former political adviser to the GNC delegation who recently quit claimed that the majority of the 80 GNC members still opposed the amended draft even though their negotiators accepted it, according to the pro-HoR Libya Herald. Meanwhile, Leon is saying nothing about what will happen this next week. He has said nothing about any parallel military dialogue between Haftar of the HoR and the militia forces associated with the Tripoli government. Without any agreement between the competing militaries a political agreement will be unenforceable. The GNC government may very well return to Skhirat as a tactical move to put pressure on the HoR to return to the dialogue even though they reject the present LPA draft. The chances for a successful political agreement still seem slim at this point.

No comments: