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article imageOp-Ed: Arab Summit leaders support Libyan UN-backed government

By Ken Hanly     Mar 29, 2017 in Politics
Amman - Arab leaders at a Summit in Amman Jordan are said to have given their absolute support to the Presidency Council (PC) of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA).
The Libya Herald also reported that the leaders would drop any links to the Tobruk-based eastern government of Abdullah al-Thinni associated with the House of Representatives (HoR). One wonders if there is any more than lip-service support being given to the GNA. Countries such as Egypt the UAE and Jordan have strong ties to the Al-Thinni government and have provided support for the commander of the eastern-based Libyan National Army commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Libyan sources at the summit said that support for the PC, the GNA and the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) or Shkirat agreement will be included in the summit final statement. The final statement would also call on the countries different military groups to be joined in a single body. At present that seems a vain hope and quite unrealistic.
A news release from Saudi Arabia from its official news agency on Amman Declaration 1 said: On Libya, the statement stressed the need to achieve security and political stability in the North African Arab nation through a national reconciliation that is based on the "Skhirat" agreement in order to preserve the country's territorial unity and cohesion. It affirmed the Arab nation's support to the Libyan people in their efforts to defeat terrorist gangs and eradicate the threat posed by terrorism to Libya and its neighbors. There is no mention of supporting the PC or GNA specifically. However the Saudi agency could have filtered this out.
In an obvious reference to eastern commander Marshal Haftar, Qatar's emir said that there could not be another dictator in the country and Egypt, which supports Haftar said the same thing. Kuwait's emir called for the GNA to have full control over the whole of Libya. King Salman of Saudi Arabia appealed to Libyans to renounce violence, a narrative that the UN envoy to Libya Martin Kobler often relates. Egypt's president Abdel El-Sisi said that Libyans needed to support the LPA however he has been unable to convince Haftar, whom he supports, to vote confidence in the GNA as required by the LPA.
Faiez Serraj, head of the PC, thanked the Arab leaders for their support, and singled out Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia for attempts to solve the Libyan crisis. However, he also singled out the rival House of Representatives (HoR) for refusing to vote confidence in the GNA. He also criticized Marshal Haftar for war crimes in Benghazi saying: “We strongly condemn the recent violations in some areas of Libya with the exhumation of graves and the mutilation of the dead, especially those who claim to be members of the regular military forces.” Serraj, in contrast, praised the forces of Bunyan Marsous who freed the city of Sirte from the Islamic State.
Serraj said that he was committed to providing the basic needs of Libyans throughout the country and to protection of human rights. He said that those who thought there was a military solution to Libya's problems were wrong. He argued that there are only losers in a military fight, no winners. In the fight over the four ports of the Oil Crescent, Haftar seems to have been a clear winner. Serraj argued that a Libyan united army should be built under civilian command. He said that the HoR should stop abusing its powers and commit to democratic meeting sessions:"What made the Libyan crisis be prolonged is nothing more than the HoR's non-approval of the cabinet." Faiez also argued the the Petroleum Facilities Guard should all be united under one command: "I call on the Arab Summit to adopt the proposal I suggested about uniting the Petroleum Facilities Guard under one command with the National Oil Corporation in Tripoli being the boss and the supervisor. I call on the international community to take action in that regard and not only focus on illegal immigration and terrorism." Although many citizens in Tripoli might maintain otherwise, Serraj insisted that living conditions are normal in the city in spite of intermittent security violations.
The Jordanian government has requested that the GNA appoint a new ambassador to Jordan. At present, the embassy supports the HoR al-Thinni government. The staff told the Libya Herald that they completely oppose the PC. The staff refused to provide any logistical support for the PC delegation in the run-up to the Summit. Some predict there could be two embassies in Amman, one for the GNA and one for the HoR. Apparently, this situation already exists in Cairo. Jordan has supported Haftar, so this is a blow for him.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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