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article imageOp-Ed: Paris meeting on Libya crisis shows no substantial results

By Ken Hanly     Oct 3, 2016 in Politics
Paris - Meetings at the ministerial level of a number of different countries in Paris to find solutions for the Libyan political crisis apparently failed to make any political progress.
Libya remains divided with two governments. The internationally-recognized UN-supported Government of National Accord(GNA) is based in Tripoli while the rival House of Representatives government (HOR) is based in the east in Tobruk. Neither the HoR nor the commanders of its armed forces Marshal Haftar recognize the GNA.
On August 22, the HoR met and decisively defeated a vote of confidence in the GNA. The GNA is supposed to have come up with a new government with just 8 ministers some time ago but that has not happened yet. There have been many meetings that have attempted to find a role in a new GNA that Haftar will accept. He seems to have little interest in unifying with the GNA and has been quite critical of attempts by the UN envoy Martin Kobler to create a mechanism by which he could be accomodated. Haftar has complained that Kobler is meddling unhelpfully in Libyan affairs. Haftar also has a quite negative attitude to the GNA, especially many of the militia which support it. He is quite unwilling to serve in armed forces with the Presidential Council (PC) of the GNA as commander in chief.
The Paris meeting was hosted by the French government. There were representatives from Egypt, Germany, Italy, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK and the USA. Martin Kobler UN Special Envoy, and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini were also present. However, the Arab League protested that it had not been invited. The Egyptians sent only a low-level delegation to the meeting. No Libyans were invited in spite of the fact the meeting was all about Libya.
French officials claim that the failure to invite Libyans was in part a result of the rapid organization of the event but also because the aim was to draw outside support for the PC and the GNA. French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said: “I took this initiative on behalf of France because we want the government of national accord of Mr Sarraj to succeed."
The assembled group did agree that any future GNA should give a role to Khalifa Haftar. The Egyptian delegation called for the international arms embargo to be lifted. The Egyptians want Haftar to be provided with arms legally by foreign supporters such as Egypt, the UAE, and perhaps Russia. There appears to have been no statement released at the end of the meetings or at least it has not been published as yet. Given the purpose of the meeting, one would think that there would be a statement issued expressing support for the GNA and its attempt to move forward with the Libyan Political Agreement as well as supporting the UN resolutions on the GNA and the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA)
Tweets seem to be uniformly negative about the meeting. One said: "Paris meeting about libya finished interestless after an disagreements btwn The involved countries in the libyan affairs @UNSMILibya". Another was just as negative: "Paris meeting on #Libya crisis today a damp squib by all accounts. Few high-level figures. Some key meddlers only sent ambs resident in FR" Another said that a new GNA was being worked out at a meeting in Jordan: "Paris meeting failed Alghwil & altinni now in jordan to form new Gov , & dissolve GNA." This seems highly improbable. A final tweet suggests the meeting was just preparatory: "Sami M. Berriwen
I'm reading reports saying this was only a preparatory meeting. Ministerial meeting to follow in the next few days.
4:24 PM - 3 Oct 2016". This is possible but I have seen nothing to confirm this as yet. There should be more reports on the meeting by tomorrow.
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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