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article imageOp-Ed: Western countries pressure Libya to form unified government

By Ken Hanly     Aug 26, 2016 in Politics
Stuttgart - You would never know that the UN-backed Government of National Accord had just suffered the defeat of a vote of confidence in the government by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR)
Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) commended the resumption of the HoR sessions. Earlier sessions meant to hold a vote on the GNA as required by the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) either were without a quorum or were disrupted so no vote was taken. Kobler has all along insisted that the HoR majority approves of the GNA but have never been able to vote that approval. In fact a letter of 100 members indicating approval was used in part to justify activating the GNA and moving it to Tripoli. However, until the formal vote is made and HoR approves the GNA there is no legislature of the GNA.
In fact, the HoR has been acting on behalf of a separate government with Abdullah al-Thinni the prime minister and Khalifa Haftar commander of the Libyan National Army, the armed forces. Haftar does not accept the legitimacy of the GNA or its armed forces.
Instead of a disastrous defeat that shows clearly that the GNA is illegal as it stands now, the overwhelming vote against the GNA is portrayed as a giant leap forward in the political process. The vote of confidence was defeated by a vote of 61 against, 39 abstained, and 1 in favor. The reality of what happened is ignored not just by the Kobler and the UN but by many western countries. This is made crystal clear in a recent combined statement by five European countries and the US.
France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US all follow Kobler in welcoming the statement of the Presidency Council (PC) of the GNA that it will present a revised list of the Government of National Accord ministers to the HoR. Of course this will be the third time a list has been presented. The other two times the HoR rejected the list. This is not mentioned. Neither is there any mention of the need for an amendment to the Constitutional Declaration of 2011 to incorporate the GNA and make the HoR legally the legislature of the GNA. For all the talk of using the LPA as the basis for moving forward, the terms of the LPA are ignored whenever the GNA, UN and its cheerleaders find it convenient to do so,
The present GNA has 17 ministries. The HoR has demanded that there be just 8 ministries. Neither Kobler nor the statement of the six countries mention this. Nor do they mention that there are four ministers recently resigned all from the east. Of the nine presidential council members two had been boycotting sessions for ages but one has been welcomed back lately. The other boycotter, Gatrani is from the east and an ally of Haftar. If Haftar thought there was any hope of a solution he could support, he would have had him return already as well. It may be difficult to reduce the numbers of ministers to eight or to have a majority of the PC agree to the list. What sort of vote is required or will there just be a consensus? We never get any information as to how the PC decides things.
The six-nation statement goes on and on about the international community's past cheerleading activities: They emphasised the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2259 which endorses the Rome Communiqué of 13 December 2015 and the Libya Political Agreement to support the GNA as the sole legitimate government of Libya and reject official contact with parallel institutions that claim to be the legitimate authority but are outside the Libya Political Agreement. The GNA itself has tried to negotiate deals with the parallel NOC and CBL. Numbers of countries have had dealings with the parallel armed forces led by Haftar.
The group look forward to the prompt forwarding of the new list to the HoR which they urge the HoR to vote on in its entirety. They hold the HoR responsible for holding the vote as the next vital step in implementing the LPA and claim it provides the only means of restoring peace and stability to Libya. So what if the vote is held and fails again? Holding the vote does not mean that it will pass.
The six-nation statement reiterates support for everyone: We remain committed to providing our full support to the Libyan people, to the PC, and the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj as they work to restore unity and rebuild Libya. We reiterate our full support for the ongoing work of UNSMIL and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Martin Kobler. The cheerleaders are all united though Libya remains divided. Unless that is that you consider the fact that Russia, UAE, Egypt, and no doubt others support Haftar and the HoR. France helped Haftar, and the UK and US have special forces in Benghazi it would seem.
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
More about Libyan Government of National Accord, Libyan House of Representatives, Martin Kobler
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