The EU is considering sanctions on key officials of Libyan General National Congress officials

According to the Libya Herald, the EU is considering travel bans and asset freezes on two senior officials of one of two rival Libyan governments, the General National Congress (GNC), located in Tripoli in western Libya.

The internationally-recognized government, the House of Representatives(HoR), is located in Tobruk in the east. The two GNC officials are president Nuri Abu Sahmain and their prime minister Khalifa Ghwell. This move is odd to say the least. The GNC is not even required to approve the Libyan Political Agreement(LPA) or the associated Government of National Accord(GNA). The LPA requires that the HoR give a vote of confidence in the GNA before its term begins.
The HoR has rejected the LPA because it wants a clause deleted from the LPA that takes away the position of commander of the Libyan National Army from CIA-linked General Khalifa Haftar and gives it to the Presidency Council of the GNA. It also rejected the GNA government and demanded a smaller cabinet. So it is General Haftar and the HoR that have stopped the GNA from starting its term not the GNC or its officers. If anyone should be sanctioned it should be Haftar and perhaps the president of the HoR.
The EU decided some time ago in July that they were going to sanction both Haftar and his air force commander. The army and Haftar brushed off the threats. His spokesperson even called them meaningless. Haftar continued on gaining support from Egypt, UAE, the Arab League and signing a military agreement with Jordan. Finally, a news report in October notes he would be welcomed in Europe. He even gets to meet with Martin Kobler, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. Both say they favor fighting terrorism but Haftar classifies the armed militia of the GNC as terrorists.
The GNC does not support the LPA as it is or the GNA, nor does it support the GNA locating in Tripoli either. However, the immediate threat and blocking of the creation of the GNA is the support Haftar has in the HoR and his refusal to accept the LPA himself.
As the Libya Herald remarks, Martin Kobler the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Libya, issued a remarkably upbeat report on the HoR's rejection of the GNA and also the LPA, which included a demand that the key article 8 that takes away Haftar's job be deleted. Kobler welcomed the endorsement in principle of the LPA. While there was an endorsement in principle, in actuality there was a resounding rejection and failure to approve the LPA. Kobler fails to note that as of tomorrow the GNA has already violated the LPA because the deadline for a vote of confidence is today according to the LPA. On the deletion of Section 8 Kobler said: “I take note of the reservation of the House of Representatives on article (8) and remind all parties that any amendment to the LPA must be in line with the mechanism of the Libyan Political Agreement.” SRSG Kobler said. “We will continue consultations with all parties to find consensual solution to all outstanding issues," He added
The agreement is signed. Article 60 p.18 demands that "All parties shall commit to refraining from taking any action or decisions that contradicts in any way with the items in this agreement." A consensual solution with all parties would still violate the LPA. The LPA can be amended but only once the GNA is up and running with the agreement of the HoR and the State Council as the Herald points out. The LPA must be accepted in its entirety. However, Kobler will simply ignore the LPA provisions, just as he ignored the fact that neither parliament approved the LPA although the agreement was supposed to be peace deal between the two rival governments. As I pointed out he also ignores that Haftar lost his job on December 17, according to section 8 page 20 of the LPA and the Presidency Council did not carry out their obligations as commander in chief of the Libyan National Army.
It is beginning to look as if the UN and international backers of the GNA may have surrendered to Haftar and are now trying to weaken the GNC and blame it for its problems and attempt to find some way of keeping him on as commander of the LNA. This will cause many GNC members to exit the GNA but the UN may consider that this is all to the good. They can be blamed for sabotaging the peace process and Haftar can become the white knight fighting Islamist terrorism.


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