Sunday, May 28, 2017

Six point plan for peace in Libya by UN envoy Martin Kobler

Martin Kobler, head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) yesterday tweeted the outline of a six-point "road map for peaceful Libya".

As he has said many times he regards the Libyan Political Agreement(LPA) signed in Skhirat, Morocco in December of 2015 as the core of any forthcoming peace talks. Yet the LPA has been one of the main roadblocks keeping the eastern-based House of Representatives (HoR) from voting confidence in the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) and its Presidency Council (PC). The last vote was on August 22, 2016 and failed to pass. There has been little progress since. Though there has been a meeting recently between head of the PC Faiez Serraj and head of the armed forces of the rival HoR government, Khalifa Haftar, and it was claimed to have been positive and resulted in an agreement. However, no formal statement was issued after the meeting, and the two sides ultimately issued separate statements that differed considerably. A number of contradictory accounts of details of what was agreed to have been circulating as indicated in a recent Digital Journal article.
As usual, what Haftar says is less important than what he leaves out. In order for the LPA to be used as a basis of a political solution it will need to be amended so that Section 8 making the PC rather than Haftar the commander of the Libyan Armed Forces is deleted. As opponents of the GNA have often pointed out the present GNA lacks any legitimacy:Article (12)
All institutions stipulated in the Libyan Political Agreement shall derive their legitimacy from the Constitutional Declaration and its amendment as annexed to this Agreement after its endorsement and adoption in its entirety, signing and entry into force. Should it be necessary to introduce subsequent amendment to the Constitutional Declaration that affects, whether directly or indirectly, the Agreement or any of the institutions that emanate from it, the House of Representatives and State
Council shall commit to achieve consensus among themselves to agree on the format of such amendment. The final endorsement of this amendment shall be given by the House of Representatives, without amendment, based on the mechanism stipulated in the Constitutional Declaration.
This would seem to allow a path to change the LPA, but Kobler appears to be seeking to amend the LPA by calling together Dialogue members chosen by the two sides, who he thinks, can simply amend the agreement. It is not clear exactly what sections of the LPA allow this if there are any. Kobler never gives details about such matters and reporters and analysts don't seem to bother about them at all, or at least discussion of the issue never makes it to the mainstream press. There is still no word about when and where the Dialogue members will meet. The HoR has chosen its members finally, after other members of the dialogue meeting in Tunis claimed to have already amended it something that has fallen off the press radar.
Kobler's second point is that the security apparatus should be united and they should be disallowed from using violence. Presumably he means unauthorized violence. I assume that he means disbanding the militias and forming a unified army and security apparatus instead of depending on militias as happens now..There are numerous militias with their own agendas often engaging in turf wars and some of them more like criminal gangs than groups providing security for the state. The LPA clearly saw this as necessary and has several portions dealing with the problem but virtually nothing has been done with results that are nothing short of disastrous. Clashes are endemic especially in the capital Tripoli. Kobler has no suggestions as how this unity of security can be accomplished.
The third point is that the financial and economic institutions should be supported so that they become stable and more in contact with the PC of the GNA. However, the Libyan Central Bank and the National Oil Companies must play a delicate balancing act as the eastern HoR government controls many areas where the oil wells's security is provided by forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar. Unless the funds from oil are divided in a manner acceptable to the east then the whole system could be shut down and everyone loses. There are signs that the Central Bank has at times refused necessary funds for the GNA to carry on all its activities. Again, Kobler has no advice as to how what he claims is necessary can be achieved.
Kobler then says: "Fourth is national reconciliation programs that include all the Libyan parties without any exclusion, while fifth is giving the governmental local bodies like municipalities more authorities, responsibilities and financial support to act each on the level of their municipal duties." The fourth point is well taken but may be difficult to set up in a manner that the meetings are not slanted in the direction of groups with their own agendas. The fifth point is complicated by the fact in the eastern part of the country under the influence of Khalifa Haftar many local authorities have been replaced by military officials. Kobler fails to even take note of this issue.
Kobler's final point is that neighboring countries should work with Libyan officials in both military and political divisions to facilitate a new round of "sincere dialogue". However, this ignores the fact that there are at least two significant sets of Libyan officials from the two rival governments. According to a UN resolution they should only deal with GNA officials but given the reality of the political division this makes no sense and countries violate the resolution all the time and no one says boo, They even deal with Ageela Saleh the sanctioned head of the HoR. While Kobler does point out some of the essential steps forward to solve the Libyan crisis, he says nothing about how what is necessary can be actually achieved. It remains to be seen if the recent meetings between Serraj and Haftar result in anything positive. There already appears to be renewed militia activity against the GNA by some militia in Tripoli.


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