Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Alleged majority of HoR meet and issue a statement supporting the GNA but with conditions

The Libya Herald reports that a majority of the members of the HoR met in a hotel separately from the regular HoR meeting rooms. In a statement the group said it supports the UN-brokered Government of National Accord.
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However, it also said it wants Article 8 deleted. Actually as I have pointed out there are two articles numbered 8. One is in the main text of the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat, Morocco, on December 17. The other is in the additional provisions. The text of the Skhirat agreement is available in Engllsh here. I have talked about the two sections many times including here. The Libya Herald reports the HoR members as wanting section 8 in the additional provisions deleted:
 However, they also said they wanted the controversial Article No. 8 of the LPA’s additional provisions to be deleted. Under it, the Presidency Council is supposed to appoint or reappoint heads of major military, security and civilian posts within 20 days of the LPA being signed. Many see the article as an anti-Hafter move.
While what the Herald article says is true, it leaves out what is even more significant — namely that Haftar was supposed to lose his job as of the signing of the agreement. This is from page 20 of the text: All powers of the senior military, civil and security posts stipulated in the Libyan legislations and laws in force shall be transferred to the Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers immediately upon signing this Agreement. :In other words, Haftar lost his job back on December 17 but everyone ignores this including the press. The other section 8 is in the main text and would see Haftar lose his job as soon as the GNA becomes operative. This is supposed to be after a vote of confidence in the HoR. However, the GNA declared itself up and running and moved to Tripoli some time back on the basis of a statement from a majority of the HoR that it supported the GNA and a supposed green light from Libyan Dialogue members. So Haftar should have been removed by now according to that provision as well. The Presidency Council remains mum on this even though it contains some members who are opposed to Haftar. The State Council has said nothing either.
The Herald report said that there were some 100 members who declared their support at the meeting. However a tweet with a photo shows many less: "32 memb of HOR hide scary in hotel restaurant amendment #skhirat agreement." The group condemned their colleagues for not allowing a formal meeting and said that the GNA remained the only way out of the crisis.
The Herald reports that the day had started out with effort to hammer out a compromise by members from the two groups. This may be the committee of six from each side that had been struck the day before. Apparently the meeting became chaotic with both sides engaging in a shouting match. First and second deputy Emhemed Shouaib and Ahmaid Huma, both supporters of the GNA then left. They then reassembled at another hotel where they released their statement. They did not take a formal vote to approve the LPA or GNA: Instead, the supporters called for the HoR to endorse the LPA, adding that the latter should take its oath of office before parliament no later than the end of next week. This should at a venue to be determined by the office of the HoR presidency, they said.Presumably, they meant the HoR should take an oath of office as members of the GNA legislative assembly.
An HoR official told the Herald that 102 members had declared their support for the GNA while those opposed were between 55 and 60. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) issued a press release critical of those who prevented the vote. He regretted that what he called a clear majority were unable to exercise their intrinsic democratic right to vote and his release concludes:Taking note of the GNA supporters’ declaration, he paid tribute “to the spirit and courage of parliamentarians who gathered in Tobruk over the past few days”. He urged them to “remain faithful to their constituents” and to carry out their responsibilities “without obstruction, threat or intimidation”.Notice that he makes no mention of the fact that the majority statement also demands that section 8 be deleted. Kobler never notices things like that. Of course, he also fails to mention that the spoilers might have some connections with General Khalifa Haftar.
Ageela Salah, the speaker of the HoR, gave his opinion of the situation to the Libya Observer.. He said that a meeting could be held only with the attendance of the Speaker.


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