John Kerry, US Secretary of State, visits UAE and promises joint action on Libya
United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, met on November 23 with United Arab Emirates(UAE) Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Kerry will visit Israel and Palestine as well.
Kerry will be discussing Syria and other crises in the Middle East. In the UAE he talked to the foreign minister about the situation in Libya. A new UN Special Envoy to Libya has just taken over from the former Special Envoy, Bernardino Leon. Leon worked for almost a year to draft a final Libya Political Agreement(LPA) and proposed names for a Government of National Accord. Neither the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) parliament based in Tobruk nor the rival General National Congress(GNC) have approved or even voted on the LPA. Leon left the UN position under a cloud as he was in a blatant conflict of interest situation.While acting as a supposedly impartial mediator between the two rival Libyan governments, Leon accepted last June a job in the UAE that paid over $1,500 a day. Leaked emails also show he consulted with and even took direction from the UAE. The UAE is a strong supporter of the HoR government and its chief military commander, Khalifa Haftar. The UAE is also accused of shipping arms to the HoR and Haftar in violation of a UN ban on weapons shipments to Libya. The UAE was accused by the U.S. of clandestinely bombing Tripoli last year with the help of Egypt.Kerry said the United States together with the UAE would take steps soon to address the situation in Libya:The new UN envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, has had talks with both rival governments urging them to sign on to the agreement. The French Defence Minister along with many others also urge signing of the agreement and warn that not to do so would be a victory for the Islamic State. The Islamic State main base now is in the city of Sirte and area. Contrary to numerous reports, there is little evidence that it is gaining much if any territory. In fact it has lost what was long its main base and stronghold the city of Derna. The Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also urged the signing of the agreement when he met Kobler.There are no reports yet as to when the two parliaments will meet again to vote on the LPA. Kobler has insisted the agreement cannot be amended even though the GNC requested amendments and the HoR claims the draft is not acceptable as it is. There is not even discussion of any parallel military dialogue to ensure that there is a ceasefire and disarmament. Without this the implementation of any political agreement will be impossible.
“We also talked very seriously today about Libya, and we are committed to taking steps in the next weeks, months to try to address that situation,”Kerry makes no mention of the LPA that many foreign countries and the UN have pressured the two rival governments to sign. Mystery planes bombed Islamic State positions in the city of Sirte recently. No one seems to have followed up to find out whose planes they might have been. Neither of the two rival governments claim responsibility. Perhaps the U.S. will join in with the UAE in bombing Sirte. The U.S. recently attacked Islamic State positions outside of Derna and claim to have killed an Islamic State leader although the IS denies that the leader was killed.