Unity Libyan government High Council of State names representatives for dialogue on Libyan Political Agreement

(May 11)The High Council of State (HCS) a mainly consultative body of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) chose 13 members to represent it in discussions by the Libyan dialogue to amend the Libya Political Agreement(LPA).

The group was named as the "committee tasked with amending the political agreement'. The present head of the Presidential Council of the Faiez Serraj will lead the group. The committee is also to reach agreements with the HoR as set out in the LPA. The rival House of Representatives (HoR) government based in Tobruk earlier appointed a 22 member committee to represent its interest. Mohammed Emazzeb, the first deputy of the HCS is to supervise and follow up the committee's work and progress.
According to the terms of the LPA signed in Skhirat Morocco in December of 2015, the HoR must vote confidence in the GNA and also amend the constitutional declaration of 2011 to incorporate the LPA before the GNA term starts and for it to be legitimate. This has never happened. On August 22 of 2016 the HoR met and a second vote of confidence failed. Although at the time there was an apparent deadline of ten days for the GNA to present a new cabinet, little has been achieved since then. The main problem seems to be accommodating Marshall Khalifa Haftar commander in chief of the HoR armed forces, the Libyan National Army(LNA). Section 8 of the present LPA gives the role of commander in chief to the PC rather than to Haftar. The HoR will no doubt demand that the section be deleted and that Haftar remains commander in chief of the new armed forces or at the very least there be an arrangement acceptable to him. A recent meeting between Haftar and Serraj was supposed to have been positive and resulted in an agreement. No joint statement was issued and it is still not clear what has been agreed to. However there are to be further meetings and perhaps an announcement this week.
Meanwhile the HSC has expressed concern that UN envoy Martin Kobler is trying to control the political process rather than facilitate it. An HSC statement said: “The UN envoy ignores the mechanisms of the political agreement after he was calling for implementing it.” The statement claims that there is a convergence of views between the HSC and the HoR although it did not specially say what those views were following a meeting between head of the HSC Abdul-Rahman Swaihli and of the HoR Ageelah Saleh in Rome. Presumably Kobler is planning to hold a meeting of the Dialogue members representing the two parties soon but no date or location has been announced. It has never been clear to me what sections of the LPA Kobler is using to justify any amendments. Presumably, the amendments would need to be agreed to not only by the HoR but also by the PC of the GNA. Perhaps the situation will be clarified in the coming days. Any attempt to allow Haftar to be commander of the armed forces in a new GNA will be met with fierce resistance from many in the GNA.

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