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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Way forward in Libya after lost confidence vote unclear

After the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) lost a vote of confidence in the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), the Presidency Council agreed to present a new list of ministers within ten days.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US have all called upon the HoR to endorse the new cabinet line-up within the time limit. A report on the issue continues:
Libyan authorities sent a new list of the team of the unity government to the House of Representatives for approval. In a joint statement, NATO allies praised the move, saying “members of the House of Representatives are responsible for taking the next vital step in implementing the Libya Political Agreement, which provides the only means to restore peace and stability in Libya.”If this is correct then the Presidential Council (PC) was able to reduce the number of ministries from 17 to eight as demanded by the HoR within less than a week. No information is given as to who the new choices are or as to when the PC met or the mechanisms they used to make decisions or even if the PC as a group even decided the issue.
The GNA needs a vote of confidence so that it can then unify the country under one government with the HoR serving as the GNA legislature. As it is now, the HoR does not recognize the GNA and has its own rival government headed by PM Abdullah Al-Thinni. It also has its own Libyan National Army headed by General Khalfa Haftar who does not recognize the GNA or its armed forces. Haftar demands that he be commander in chief of any new GNA armed forces. At the very least he would want a commander approved by him. At present, the PC serves the function of commander in chief. The present defense minister will probably not be on the new list as he is not approved by Haftar. The name Haftar is not even mentioned in recent statements on Libya by six western nations or by the UN,.
So far major media outlets are not confirming that the list has already been presented to the HoR but an Egyptian report provides its own version of what is happening:The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the Libya Presidential Council’s proposal to appoint new ministers in the Government of National Accord (GNA). The proposal has been presented to the Libyan House of Representatives and is pending approval.Although the wording is a bit vague presumably the proposal is the new list of ministers. There again is no mention of the number but it appears that the list is "pending approval" by the HoR. Neither report suggests when the vote will take place. If the list is already submitted it could be as early as this Monday. No announcement of receipt of the list or as to any upcoming meeting has been issued as yet by the HoR.
Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) has arrived in Cairo for a two-day visit and is expected to meet with a group of officials in order to discuss the latest developments in Libya. No doubt Kobler wants Egypt to use its influence with the HoR and Haftar to convince them to sign on to the newly proposed cabinet. Most everyone applauds the proposal to present a new set of ministers for a vote of confidence by the HoR including the US as a recent tweet puts it: "US & others welcome #Libya PC decision to submit revised cabinet to HoR, chance to broaden inclusive GNA." As usual, no numbers are associated with the proposal.
The UN and many others constantly cite the importance of implementing the requirements of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Yet the UN and GNA have not received a formal vote of confidence from the HoR as required by the LPA. They have gone ahead and activated GNA ministries anyway which are now clearly illegal after the recent vote of confidence failed. Most everyone will ignore this fact.
The GNA has acted against the LPA in other ways as well. For example the LPA, according to section 8-f, mandates the PC to: "f. Conclude international agreements and conventions provided that they are endorsed by the House of Representatives. " The GNA has an agreement with the US for bombing missions but surely made no attempt to have HoR agree to this. There are no doubt plenty of other international agreements the GNA has made without the slightest attempt to have the HoR agree. Since the GNA has no legislature it has simply ignored this requirement. The HoR is also to approve the appointment of the Head of the General Intelligence Service according to section 8-b, but this has never happened. Stay tuned for the next scheme to avoid implementing the exact terms of the LPA.


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