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article imageOp-Ed: UN envoy speaks about Libya situation

By Ken Hanly     Nov 21, 2017 in Politics
UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame spoke to the UN Security Council about the situation in Lbya on November 16. He announced his action plan back in September of this year.
The Action Plan for Libya
Salame notes that it is now two months since he set out his Action Plan for Libya. The Action Plan he describes is made up of a number of ingredients including: amending the Libyan Political;Agreement (LPA), organizing a National Conference, as well as preparing for elections.
I discussed Salame's plan in an article back in September. The plan he argues is based on article 12 of the LPA. He failed to note that there are two articles 12, one in the main text and one in the additional provisions. He does not say which one he refers to.
Only article 12 in the additional provisions is relevant because it does make reference to the House of Representatives (HoR) and the State Council (SC). However, the article is not about amending the LPA at all. It is about amending the Constitutional Declaration.
Even then the amendment can take place only after the LPA has been endorsed and adopted in its entirety. Surely this has not happened. The amendments are surely designed so that the HoR will accept the LPA and agree to the Government of National Accord (GNA) as restructured among other things. They also have yet to incorporate the GNA in the constitutional declaration. The whole edifice of the GNA as it is now has no legitimacy according to Article 12.
What does article 12 in additional provisions say?
Although in his original statement of the plan and this report Salame refers to article 12 to explain what he is doing, he never actually quotes it. The full text of the LPA as signed in December of 2015 at Skhirat Morrocco can be found here at a UN site in PDF form.
Article 12 of the additional provisions reads:"Article (12)All institutions stipulated in the Libyan Political Agreement shall derive their legitimacy from the Constitutional Declaration and its amendment as annexed to this Agreement after its endorsement and adoption in its entirety, signing and entry into force.
Should it be necessary to introduce subsequent amendment to the Constitutional Declaration that affects, whether directly or indirectly, the Agreement or any of the institutions that emanate from it, the House of Representatives and State Council shall commit to achieve consensus among themselves to agree on the format of such amendment. The final endorsement of this amendment shall be given by the House of Representatives, without amendment, based on the mechanism stipulated in the ConstitutionalDeclaration."
Notice there is not a word about amending the Libyan Political Agreement itself, but only the Constitutional Declaration. Even this can take place only after everything has been endorsed and implemented. Is it any wonder that Salame never actually quotes the article he is supposedly using?
Here is what Salame reports as progress: "I am pleased to report that over the last two months, the Action Plan has made significant headway. The United Nations convened two sessions of the Joint Drafting Committee, composed of members from both the House of Representatives and of the High Council of State to agree on a set of amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement in UNSMIL’s offices in Tunis. For the first time, with these meetings, Article 12 of the Libyan Political Agreement has been implemented. I welcome the mutual recognition of the two assemblies, and their acknowledgment of the Libyan Political Agreement as the sole available framework to end the crisis in Libya."
Salame does not explain how the two meetings implement Article 12 of the LPA. Where are all the experts on Libya? Why is nothing said about this issue? The LPA is not used as a basis for a process. It is avoided while the UN continually claims that it is being used as a basis for a way forward.
The enclosed video shows that the meetings ended with no agreement and with no date set for a future meeting.
Salames remark about the HoR and High Council of State(HCS) glosses over the fact that the HoR supports only an amended LPA without section 8 that gives the PC the job of commander in chief . The HCS wants to ensure that Haftar does not remain commander in chief. This is why there is no final agreement.
The National Conference
Salame also is preparing for a National Conference to take place next February 18. There is nothing in the LPA about such a conference. It appears to be an attempt to bring important stakeholders together.
Salame says: "The National Conference will give Libyans from all across the country the opportunity to come together in one place; to renew their common national narrative; and to agree on the tangible steps required to end the transition. I insist that the Conference be inclusive, in order to allow the adoption of a true National Charter, and provide guidelines for the legislation needed to end the transition."
This appears all quite idealistic and vague.
It remains to be seen if the conference actually takes place and has any effect.
Recent Developments
The HoR has met and apparently accepted some amendments to the LPA. Chris Stephen tweets: More
#Libya Libya reform: Today's Tobruk parliament vote sees UN-backed GNA government's executive in Tripoli, the 9-strong Presidential Council, cut to 3 members, to be chosen by Tripoli + Tobruk parliaments. As before, PC recommends cabinet, Tobruk votes yes/no. In theory, anyway.
6:10 AM - 21 Nov 2017
Where in the LPA does it say the HoR can amend the LPA? Note there is no mention of deletion of article 8 or whether they have amended the Constitutional Declaration as required.
Apology: I had all sorts of problems with the editing of this article. An earlier posted article had material that I used as reference that I deleted but it was not deleted but saved. This is a shortened version of the article with the extraneous material hopefully deleted.
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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