UN's special envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon has term extended
The UN Special Envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, has been asked to continue his work even after the refusal of both rival governments in Libya to approve his final draft of the Libyan Political Agreement after a year of negotiations.
Leon had set a final deadline of October 20 for the approval of the agreement, one of many deadlines the two sides have ignored. The next day the mandate of the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) ran out. The HoR earlier had unilaterally extended its mandate, but this is likely illegal as the mandate was supposed to be extended only by a referendum. However, under the Libyan Political Agreement, the HoR could have continued but under the terms of the LPA as approved by both sides. Leon and many in the international community have put pressure on the HoR to sign the agreement with Leon even suggesting that the HoR must sign the agreement to obtain international recognition. So far no country has come forth with an announcement that it no longer recognizes the HoR or that it has decided the General National Congress(GNC) is now the legitimate government. The GNC has long made this claim since the Libyan Supreme Constitutional Court ruled last November the elections for the HoR were unconstitutional and the HoR should be dissolved. The international community has ignored the ruling. The UN has been "studying it" for over a year now.Leon was originally scheduled to leave his post by the end of this month and be replaced by veteran German diplomat Martin Kobler. Italian Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, announced the extension while briefing an Italian parliamentary committee on Libya. He said Leon still hoped to reach a final agreement and "get out of the ambiguities" preventing a settlement. No time was put on his extension. Leon is known to want to return to Spanish politics and become foreign minister if the Socialist Party wins elections on December 20. Diplomats claim Kobler's job was to oversee the implementation of the LPA, not to negotiate it, as Leon has been doing.Even Fox news took time out from covering Hillary Clinton on Libya and report on the impasse developing on Libya. Leon noted while speaking in Tunis that he came there to "insist that the process goes on, that there is no chance for a small group of personalities to hijack this process...The international community, the Security Council is saying this cannot happen." Note that Leon does not make announcements from inside Libya, since he would be in danger no matter which area he was in. When he tried to visit Tobruk,where the HoR is located, his plane could not land due to protests on the ground. As shown in the appended video and image there are protests against Leon in areas controlled by each rival government.The international community must be well aware that the commander of the HoR armed forces, Khalifa Haftar, has been carrying on a military campaign called Operation DIgnity since May of 2014 and has his own plan B rather than those of the UN. He has paid no attention to the UN. He has bombed his own people numerous times, following the Gadaffi line that he is hitting terrorists. He includes the militia forces of the GNC as terrorists. The EU threatened him with sanctions but never implemented them. Since then Haftar has gained support from Egypt, the UAE, the Arab League and signed a military agreement with Jordan. He has pledged allegiance to the HoR, but only if they reject the LPA. He has prevented his own prime minister from leaving Libya twice. He also has control of who is named to prime minister Al-Thinni's parliament.Haftar's view is that the international community should lift the ban on sending arms to Libya and send weapons and other support to him to fight terrorism. In reaction to the UN's pressure, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni issued his own lecture to the international community and the UN as to how both were encouraging terrorism by not supporting the Haftar campaign. He spoke of violence from terrorists in Benghazi, Sirte, and Derna. He seems not to have noticed that the Islamic State has been driven out of Derna by other Islamists and is run by a Shura Council. Sirte is in the GNC area of control and it should be them that are complaining. They would not allow Haftar forces in the area. Al-Thinni duly rants on, no doubt with material vetted by Haftar:
“We hold fully responsible UNSMIL, the United Nations and the Security Council for the daily loss of innocent civilians lives, because they are not serious about taking measures that will support the legitimate institutions in Libya and most importantly the Libyan army in its war against terrorism”.It is not the HoR and Haftar who are threatening international security by refusing to agree to the LPA and Government of National Accord. It is the UN through the United Nations Support Mission in Libya(UNSML) and the international community who do so by refusing to support Haftar in his war against terrorism.