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Friday, September 30, 2016

General Khalifa Haftar criticizes UN envoy Martin Kobler

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) , Martin Kobler, has been criticized by Khalifa Haftar and Ageela Saleh president of the House of Representatives (HoR) and rival government to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

The two said that Kobler also chief of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, was a failure and should be fired. Haftar told the Egyptian news source Al Ahram that Kobler was "meddling in very sensitive issues." Haftar has repeatedly refused requests by Kobler to meet with him. Nevertheless Kobler has gone ahead arranging meetings to try and accommodate Haftar and have him approve the GNA. Haftar said that he respected the UN and secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
In the east especially, there have been demonstrations supporting the seizure of four Oil Crescent oil ports by Haftar and his Libyan National Army. The demonstrators were particularly angered that some EU states and the U.S. had condemned the seizure. There was a recent counter-attack that was repelled and Haftar has advanced east towards Sirte defeating forces of the Petroleum Facilities Guard.
In an interview with Russia Today TV, Saleh, who is subject to sanctions, said that Kobler was acting as if he were the ruler of Libya. Saleh claimed Kobler had deepened divisions within Libya rather than bringing people together. Just last week, Kobler had met Saleh in Cairo in an attempt to forge an agreement for a new GNA with Haftar on board. Kobler said that there had been "an open and frank exchange of views," but clearly there was no agreement. Saleh said that he was preparing a letter to the UN asking that Kobler be replaced. There is speculation that Norwegian Espen Eide has already been chosen to take over from Kobler.
Sputnik also reports on Saleh's criticism of Kobler. Saleh told Sputnik that Kobler is unable to do good for Libya and should be replaced if he does not change his ways. He said that a letter was being drafted to be sent to the UN asking that he be replaced if he did not change his approach saying: "This man intervenes in everything, but he will be incapable to do any good for Libya."
Kobler was named UN special envoy to Libya in November of 2014, replacing former envoy Bernardino Leon, who took a position in the UAE immediately after leaving.
The GNA presidency council (PC) was to have come up with a new reduced cabinet of eight ministers after a vote of confidence in the GNA was defeated in the House of Representatives on August 22nd. The deadline for submitting the new list has long passed but there is as yet no sign that the list has been prepared and no date has been set for an HoR meeting on the issue. Until the HoR votes confidence in the GNA, the GNA is without a legislature. Apparently, the State High Council of the GNA has decided that it can serve the function of a legislature for now. A recent tweet says: "#Libya: High Council of State will exercise full legislative powers in accordance with #LPA's articles 16, 17 & 18." Critics claim this is illegal.


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