- On Friday, Martin Kobler, the new head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and in charge of the Libya dialogue process, announced the dialogue group he had gathered to meet in Tunis had agreed to the UN-sponsored Libya Political Agreement (LPA).
|The final draft of the LPA was presented to the two rival Libyan governments some months ago by the former head of the UNSMIL, Bernardino Leon. One government is the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) located in Tobruk in the east and the other is the General National Congress (GNC) in the west in Tripoli. Both Leon and Kobler, after he took over on November 17, tried to get the two parliaments to pass the LPA but both were unsuccessful. However, Kobler gathered together 40 members of the dialogue group in Tunis for a meeting to approve the LPA. The group included members of the two rival governments the HoR and the GNC. Two officials present, one from the HoR and the other from the GNC, announced a target for signing the agreement is Wednesday, December 16. Because of security concerns the plan is to have the signing in Skhirat, Morocco, rather than anywhere in Libya. The agreement has overwhelming international support including that of the UN Security Council and the Rome meeting held yesterday:|
In a statement at the conclusion of the conference, 17 Arab and European countries, and representatives from the UN, EU, AU and Arab League expressed support for Skhirate dialogue to form a government of national accord as the sole legitimate government of Libya.
“We call on UNSMIL’s head to dismiss some of the UNSMIL’s staff, especially the head of political office, head of media office and his personal secretary, who have been playing a biased, negative, and unauthentic role in the process of the Libyan dialogue.”The group claimed that such unilateral meetings as those held by the UN in Tunisia helped establish the Libya norm of division, separation, tribalism and pave the way for a civil war in Libya.
"We urge the countries taking part in Rome Conference not to take any steps to adopt the UNSMIL-sponsored government, lest the situations in Libya could deteriorate."Of course this did not happen. Indeed the alternative plan was widely condemned as an attempt to derail the UN process. There have been demonstrations in support of the Libyan-Libyan dialogue in Tripoli, Misrata and Al-Zawiya.
“It’s fraught with pitfalls because you could have a paper consensus but then, what does that mean on the ground in terms of actual governance? This agreement could produce yet a third governing body that is backed by the international community but lacks legitimacy at home or lacks authority at home.”The UN may yet be able to have one or both of the rival governments sign on. There are strong motivations to do so. The GNA will provide jobs and support for the all the present members of the HoR. Many have already signed on to the LPA. If they leave for the GNA then what will happen to the HoR? The international community will cut off funding. The mandate of the HoR has already run out. All those countries that now recognize it would switch to the GNA. Those in opposition may just decide to toss in the towel and sign on to the GNA rather than lose their positions. This may be why we hear no strident criticism of the deal from the HoR. The GNC might face a similar situation in which many members simply move to the GNA.