GNC president rejects present LPA and demands changes

Martin Kobler, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya(UNSMIL), and Abu Sahmain the president of the General National Congress(GNC) government met in Tripoli today to discuss the Libya Political Agreement(LPA)

The LPA was signed on December17th in Skhirat Morocco by participants in the Libya dialogue including members of both the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR0 based in Tobruk in the east and the GNC in the east. However, no members were authorized by either parliament to sign the document. Neither parliament has approved the document. The Libya dialogue began over a year ago and was designed to have representatives from the two rival governments and other stakeholders reach a political agreement that would see the two replaced by a unity government. No such agreement was ever reached in the sense that neither parliament approved the draft agreement. However the LPA signed in Skhirat has been widely supported including by the UN Security Council and later at a ministerial meeting in Rome.
After the meeting between Kobler and Sahmain, First Deputy of the GNC Awad Abdul-Sadig told reporters that the LPA should be amended before the GNC joined the LPA. However, Kobler has long insisted that no amendments are possible and the dialogue is over. Abdul-Sadig said; "We have three reservations about the draft, the first is about balance between the two parliaments, the second is about the high number of members of the Presidential Council, and the third is about security arrangements in which the General Staff and revolutionary fighters should be part of."
Since there is no mention of Haftar, the draft signed in Skhirat must still place the role of commander in chief of the Libyan National Army in the hands of the Presidential Council. The GNC certainly does not expect Haftar to stay on as head. However, the GNC does worry that the Libyan National Army I presume will be the sole legitimate military force whereas the GNC wants their forces to play some role. Abdul-Sadiq also noted that those who signed the Skhirat agreement did not represent the GNC only themselves. He also said that the prime minister designate of the GNA Fayaz Sirraj was welcome in Tripoli but simply as a Libyan national. This is a clear rejection of him as a prime minister of the GNA.
Earlier, the GNC had sent a letter from Abdul-Sadiq to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and also Kobler. The letter said the GNC supported the UN resolution 2259 that in turn supported the LPA, and even considered it a step toward peace and security in Libya. The letter demands that the constitutional declaration be amended before the Supreme State Council meets since the Council is to carry out its duties under the terms of the amended declaration. When this amendment was made the GNC said it would forward a valid list of names of the GNC members from which the members of the Council could be chosen. It may be that the Council has already been chosen. The letter : ....also confirmed the GNC's support for security arrangements of the Libyan dialogue, and commitment of the GNC to secure a safe environment in Tripoli for a concord government that meets both rival parties' approval first...Those who signed the Skhirat agreement were not appointed by the GNC. The only members appointed officially to sign any agreement are the dialogue team ones headed by the First Deputy President of the GNC, knowing that there is no majority consensus on approving the signed draft, as claimed by others.In other words, the GNC approves security arrangements but not for the present LPA or GNA but for one that does not exist and is unlikely to ever exist.
The Libya Herald reports that Martin Kobler has confirmed that the president of the HoR Ageela Salah has changed his stance and now supports the Skhirat agreement. He had up to recently supported the alternative Libya-Libya dialogue and peace plan also supported by Sahmain of the GNC. Sahmain continues to advocate that solution. On his official Twitter account Koblertweeted: ‘‘Encouraged by the meeting with president Ageela (Salah) in Beida today (and) his acceptance of the LPA. Good way forward." One would like to know what conditions Salah put on his acceptance. I expect that as with his tribe, the approval is conditional upon Haftar remaining as commander in chief. Do not expect Kobler to reveal a trivial fact such as this.
We still have no explanation of why after two meetings of the HoR to approve the LPA no quorum has yet been reached. Only 25 members attended the last meeting. When is the next meeting? I assume it will be this Monday but Kobler does not say. We do not yet have the text of the Skhirat agreement posted on the UN website or anywhere else. Why is the UN not posting this vital information. Why are not the press demanding it? Perhaps the UN may alter the agreement when it is faced with a situation where the LPA will not pass a vote of confidence in the HoR until it does so. The reason that it may not be passing through the HoR now is that the section that deprives Haftar of his job is still present. Even if it is voted on and approved by the HoR it will be with amendments or provisos. It will be interesting what sort of happy tweet Kobler will have if that happens.


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