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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

International community backs the UN-brokered Libyan Government of National Accord

Since the formation of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) the international cheerleaders are lining up with their rhetorical chants of support for the Libyan GNA the UN and international power brokers are anxious to see up and running.

Among the cheerleaders is the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) in Libya and head of the UNSMIL. Kobler strongly welcomed the formation of the GNA, which he sees as a significant step forward toward ending political divisions and armed conflict in Libya:
"This is a sterling opportunity for Libyans to come together to build their country. The formation of the Government of National Accord (GNA) is one important leap on the path to peace and stability in Libya, I congratulate the Libyan people. Hard work lies ahead “SRSG Martin Kobler said.
The creation of the GNA if anything has deepened divisions. Kobler fails to mention that two members of the nine-member presidential council did not vote on the GNA but suspended their membership. One member specifically mentioned there was no guarantee that Khalifa Haftar would keep his position as commander in chief of the Libyan National Army. Actually, according to the additional section 8 of the LPA Haftar was supposed to have lost his job on December 17 when the LPA was signed in Skhirat. Kobler also fails to mention that the LPA has not been approved by either parliament or that the HoR has already met four times and never achieved a quorum and was unable to vote on the LPA or GNA. Kobler congratulates the Libyan people but he should congratulate himself and the UN and international community. Using an assortment of carrots and sticks they were able to pressure a number of members of the Libya Dialogue to sign the LPA at Skhirat on December 17. These included members from the two rival governments who had no authorization to sign. It is a special sub-set of Libyans Kobler should thank. Now Kobler is busy with more carrots and sticks but no dialogue trying to convince the HoR members to give a vote of confidence in the GNA. Kobler stresses the need to move forward to the next step: "I call on the members of the HoR and its presidency to uphold the country's national interest above all other considerations and promptly convene to discuss and endorse the proposed cabinet."
The EU policy chief, Federica Mogherini, also echoed Kobler welcoming the GNA and saying that it was now up to the HoR "to show the same spirit of compromise and vote its approval." The HoR has 10 days in which to do so. Mogherini also noted EU foreign ministers had met the other day in Brussels and reaffirmed their readiness to support the GNA once it takes office.
Not to be left out, the United States also joined the chorus of applause for the GNA. State Department spokesperson, John Kirby, said the U.S. was "committed to providing the unified government full political backing and technical, economic, security, and counter-terrorism assistance as requested." There was also a huge but not well-publicized meeting in Rome. After the LPA was signed there was also a huge gathering of ministerial cheerleaders in Rome last December, a suitable locale since Italy has a history of colonial rule in Libya. This recent meeting had representatives from the same countries plus Canada and Malta: The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome is hosting a High Level meeting on the Libyan crisis. It’s attended by representatives of 18 countries, three international organizations and Libya’s Presidential Council’s officials.
Kobler was busy working with all the delegations no doubt discussing strategy but if past meetings are any indication making plans for the future based on the assumption that GNA will be a reality. This has been going on since long before the LPA was even signed.
There are a few minor roadblock slowing up the plan. There is no guarantee that the HoR will give a vote of confidence to the GNA. There is tremendous pressure to do so but it will happen only if there are ironclad guarantees that Khalifa Haftar keeps his job. No doubt Kobler has been promising those in the HoR and his supporters in the GNA that he will. GNA members have successfully managed to ignore the provisions of the LPA that relieved Haftar of his job on December 17th. However, anti-Haftar members of the government may insist that the terms be carried out as soon as the GNA becomes a reality with a vote of confidence. In the vote of confidence the HoR itself would be approving that mischievous section. This is just a tip of the iceberg as far as difficulties facing Kobler and the UN. The GNA is meant to produce regime change by killing off the two rival regimes with just one LPA. The trouble is that the GNA still needs to come into being and one of the rival regimes has the power to prevent that from happening. The other regime, the General National Congress(GNC) in Tripoli also has the power from keeping the GNA from establishing itself in Tripoli. Kobler has not announced when the HoR will meet to vote.


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