UN peace talks on Libya resume in Morocco
The UN Security Council has called for those taking part in the UN-sponsored peace talks to agree to the formation of a unity government as soon as possible.
In a statement issued on April 13th the Council said:CIA-linked Khalifa Haftar, who commands the armed forces of the internationally recognized Libyan government — the House of Representatives based in Tobruk — knows these threats are idle applied to him. Haftar has consistently thumbed his nose at the UN. He bombed Tripoli just before a first set of peace talks, and said there should be no talks with terrorists — his name for the rival government and the Libya Dawn militia. As with Egyptian president Abdel el-Sisi, Haftar wants to purify Libya of Islamists of all stripes including the Muslim Brotherhood, now declared a terrorist organization in Egypt. El-Sisi is a strong supporter of Haftar and may have given him air support along with the UAE. Just before a subsequent set of talks Haftar bombed a Tripoli airport, delaying the departure of representatives from Tripoli to the talks in Morocco. When the talks began he started a military offensive to try to retake Tripoli from the rival government. What did the UN or the Security Council do? There were bleating noises from the UN complaining that "the parties" must cease fighting. There are more talks scheduled for Wednesday April 15th in Morocco again but the whole process seems surreal as The Al-Thinni government is pursuing a military policy. Haftar has said explicitly just recently that there will be no ceasefire with the militia and that would include the Libya Dawn militia the main armed forces of the Tripoli government.While the Security Council insists that there is no military solution in Libya only a political solution Haftar thinks differently.He has changed his tune slightly on the talks and does not reject them entirely but is sceptical of any agreement being a success. If the talks fail he is "betting on a military solution." That may be a good bet. Prime minister al-Thinni is off to Moscow hoping to gain support including arms. Just recently the Obama administration released $1.3 billion to Egypt in military aid to fight terrorism. Some of that aid could be sent to Libya. Meanwhile, a delegation from the Al-Thinni government is in Washington lobbying for support.A recent UN news release warned the parties about taking any action that would jeopardize the neutrality of key institutions:While the UN envoy, Bernardino, is ever optimistic about the success of talks, it is difficult to see why. There is little on offer for the Tripoli government in the plans for the unity government. The Libya government would recognize the legitimacy of the House of Representatives and the only real input the Tripoli government would have is to agree on the presidential council of three. The Libya Observer notes on April 8:
"Expressing deep concern about the continuing violence in Libya, the members of the Security Council reaffirmed that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Libya and called on all parties to cease hostilities to create a peaceful and conducive environment for an inclusive dialogue,The members of the Security Council strongly urged all Libyan stakeholders participating in the talks to agree on arrangements on the formation of a National Unity Government to end Libya's political, security and institutional crisis,"The statement also threatened restrictions on any parties that "obstruct or undermine" a political transition or threaten the country's stability of security.
In this regard, UNSMIL calls on the parties to safeguard the national institutions by refraining from taking any steps that could compromise the neutrality of these institutions that are crucial for Libya’s economic survival.The Al-Thinni government recently fired the head of the Central Bank of Libya that has remained neutral between the two governments. This is the second try as the Al-Thinni government took the same action last September. The headquarters of the bank is in Tripoli and it carried on as before. Even more serious is the setting up of a new oil company in the east. The existing National Oil Company has been neutral as well collecting receipts from oil exports from areas controlled by both governments and depositing the money in the Central Bank. Now the Tobruk government has set up a National Oil Company in the east. It is intending to open bank accounts and offices in other countries bypassing the National Oil Company. The UN has not commented on these actions as yet nor has the Security Council announced it is imposing sanctions on Al-Thinni or Haftar for their actions that do precisely what they have been warned not to do.
The member of the GNC dialogue team, Mohammed Mouzeb said yesterday that the team intends not to propose any names for the government of national unity in the upcoming dialogue rounds in Morocco. Mouzeb, in his statement to Anadolu Agency, anticipated that the GNC would likely abandon the dialogue table in reaction to the military escalation by the other party, considering it a violation of the truce.It seems unlikely that the two parties could agree on three persons acceptable to both sides but in Libya anything appears possible.