Interview with UN Envoy Martin Kobler on situation in Libya
The Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) was signed on the 17th of December nearly a year ago. In an interview for the Libya Herald, Martin Kobler, head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) assesses the progress in implementing the LPA.
|In an earlier interview, GNA Prime Minister and head, Faiez Serraj, had admitted that the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and its Presidency Council (PC) had failed to make progress since it had arrived in Tripoli at the end of March. Kobler defended the LPA and the GNA noting that the GNA had wide international support and forces loyal to it had successfully fought the Islamic State(IS). While Kobler is correct about the international support it has not translated into resources for the GNA to tackle its many problems. While the Al-Banyan Al-Marsous (Solid Structure or BAM) forces have virtually eliminated IS from its last stronghold in Sirte, it has mostly been achieved through brigades linked to the city of Misrata. The GNA has yet to have its own army and has failed to convince rival commander in the east Khalifa Haftar to serve under the command of the GNA. Haftar contributed nothing to liberating Sirte even though he had promised to do so.|
‘‘The political problems have to be solved. And I request the Libyan stakeholders to sit together, including members of the HoR, to pass the constitutional amendment. Or at least to say what should be done to make the LPA work.‘The problems have to be put on the table and then people can discuss it. The State Council is not functioning, the HoR is not functioning. All the institutions are not fulfilling their duties, including also the HoR.Events should have been telling the UN for a long time now that the the LPA is not working out. Kobler cannot even bring himself to mention Khalifa Haftar and the problem of section eight. Kobler wants the parties to say what changes they have in mind to the LPA. He has been told many times about removing section eight and has been told many times that the GNA cabinet is too large among other problems. Now the parties are to get together to tell the UN what they want done since of course: "We the international community are not imposing anything. It is up to the Libyans what to do." This has never been true and is unlikely ever to be true. External players have too much to win or lose, particularly with respect to Libya's oil resources, not to attempt to influence the form the Libyan government takes.It took the HoR six months and eight days to decide that they reject the list of the GNA members: it could have been done in a few days. Now, the HoR has, as per the LPA, the duty to fulfill. To pass the constitutional amendment and to endorse the GNA’’.