Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageOp-Ed: UN envoy talks with representatives from two rival Libyan regimes

By Ken Hanly     Nov 22, 2015 in Politics
Tripoli - Over the weekend, the new UN Special Envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, met first with representatives of the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) in Tobruk and the General National Congress(GNC) in Tripoli.
Apparently there is an internationally accepted adjective to describe those who disagree with the deal and refuse to vote on it. Reuters for example claims: U.N.-sponsored talks to end the conflict between Libya's two rival governments and their armed factions have stalled since hardliners in both camps have resisted voting on the deal, which Western governments hope will lead to stability. Perhaps those who want to approve the deal are "wimps" who gave in to constant pressure from the UN and the international community together with threats of sanctions against those who oppose the agreement or the process. The "hardliners" could be "principled" members in each camp who did not sell out.
The press is full of what appears to be straight reporting that is slanted in obvious ways. For example Reuters reports: New envoy Martin Kobler met over the weekend with the internationally recognized government and elected parliament in the east, and with representatives of the self-declared government in Tripoli and its parliament. The GNC government is not referred to as such by Reuters and certainly not by what it calls itself, the Salvation Government. It is the"self-declared" government in Tripoli as contrasted with the "elected parliament" and "internationally-recognized" government in the east. Those elections were declared unconstitutional by the Libya Supreme Constitutional court in November of 2014 which ruled the parliament should be considered "dissolved." The turnout for the elections was under 18 percent. A number who were elected have boycotted the Tobruk parliament. The mandate for the "elected" government ran out on Oct. 22, which was why Leon wanted the unity government in place by then. It no longer has any legal status. It should be called the self-declared extended mandate government. GNC media sources usually refer to the HoR as the "dissolved parliament." Now I have that off my chest I'll get back to the issue of Kobler's talks.
Kobler issued a press release through the UN Support Mission for Libya(UNSMIL) website after his meeting in Tobruk with the HoR but so far there has been nothing on the site about his meeting in Tripoli. Just as with his predecessor Leon, and the UN, he is putting pressure on the HoR to sign the agreement: Now my message was very clear: I will take up the process where my predecessor left it. We cannot reopen the Libyan agreement now. I encouraged and I urged the members of the House of Representatives to go for a positive vote.
Kobler is flogging the same old dead horse which has stalled the whole process. Kobler and his bosses must think they can somehow force the two parliaments to do what they have refused to do for many weeks. Leon claimed there were majorities in both parliaments that could pass the LPA. Personally I doubt that. I think the reason that there has been no vote is that neither side wants to be blamed for rejecting the agreement. If a vote were forced in the HoR and the agreement passed there could very well be a military coup by Haftar who rejects the agreement.
In any event, a vote at this juncture would probably be divisive in both parliaments. Any political agreement(LPA) is unenforceable without a parallel military agreement between Haftar and the forces of the GNC, but Haftar refuses to negotiate with them or even contemplate a ceasefire. Even Leon noted a parallel military agreement was necessary several times. All Kobler says his emphasis will be on security. He has never explained what he means to do. He has said nothing about a parallel military dialogue.
Kobler said: "We maybe need a quick round of consultation, but not to change the draft... I will not open the draft. I push for quick decisions, but not for hasty decisions." Kobler has already made a hasty decision not to change the draft. The HoR has rejected the draft in a statement and demands changes. The GNC has demanded amendments. The two parliaments are being forced to vote on an agreement against their wishes. Both parliaments have made this perfectly clear but this just does not fit in with the reality as the UN sees it. Here is the reality as seen by the UN: The United Nations never imposed. We always will respect your sovereignty. We will always respect dialogue. We will always respect what you wish.
The United Nations never imposed. It tried to, even went on with the farce of trying to form a unity government when one party the GNC had not even initialled the draft. Perhaps it decided it might be better to try and get the GNC to sign on because otherwise there would be sure to be a continuing civil war. Now the same strategy is to use whatever leverage they can to force the Libyan governments to do what the UN wants. If the UN respects what Libyans wish, how is it that they refuse to consider the wish of both sides to alter the document and why does the UN go on treating those the UN named as part of the GNA as if they are somehow already significant figures? There is no dialogue anymore; there is simple arm twisting and who knows what carrots and sticks are being used as incentives to hold a vote?
Faiez Serraj, the prime minister-designate in Leon's draft, had talks in Egypt with officials on terrorism and support for the new Libyan GNA. He is now apparently in Algiers, invited there by the Algerian government. He will discuss the same subjects. There is no GNA, both Libyan parliaments have rejected the LPA and some of the names presented by Leon. The GNC submitted no names. The HoR submitted names but Serraj was not one of their names for prime minister.
The press release itself shows a complete lack of even the most elementary professionalism. There are two questions. In the text all that it says is "inaudible." I assume someone taped the session and then transcribed it. They could not hear what the question was but included the text of the answer. Surely it would have been no great task to have found out what the question was and included it. There is also lax proof reading. I thought only I am usually good at that. At least the typographical glitch provides some comic relief from what is mostly standard rhetorical garbage that almost always overlays reality in UN releases: I took up the process where Bernardino Leon left it, and Bernardino Leon is Bernardino Leon and Martin Kobler is Marin Kobler. At least Martin Kobler is working undercover for Marin Kobler and not for the UAE as Bernardino Leon appeared to have been.
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 HoR government, GNC government, Martin Kobler
More news from
Latest News
Top News