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article imageOp-Ed: Rival Libyan government negotiators reach agreement

By Ken Hanly     Sep 21, 2015 in World
Skhirat - Bernardino Leon, the UN Special Envoy to Libya who has been involved in a long dialogue between the two rival Libyan governments along with others announced tonight agreement on a final draft of the Libyan Political Agreement(LPA).
Representatives of both the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) government based in Tobruk and the General National Congress(GNC) government based in Tripoli are reported to have agreed on the final draft. This is somewhat surprising since according to some reports both the HoR and the GNC had called their negotiators back home due to disagreements about the agreement on the HoR side and the ongoing military situation on the part of the GNC. Leon managed to have them remain long enough to come to an agreement. However, this in no way guarantees approval either by the HoR government or the GNC government. The HoR has already rejected an agreement that some of its negotiators had made with respect to the return of those who were boycotting the HoR, to the HoR. At the same time, it told it negotiators to return to Tobruk. They didn't.
Leon goes on about how important security is for Libyans. In the past he has insisted that any political agreement is unenforceable without a parallel military agreement between the militia of the GNC government and the forces of the HoR government commanded by Khalifa Haftar. Although he issued a condemnation of Haftar's Operation Doom just begun in Benghazi, he says nothing about pursuing any parallel military dialogue. He has not talked about that for weeks now. Even back in July an article noted the importance of such a dialogue: It is also urgent to accelerate discussions of security arrangements to implement the agreement. One of the UN-led process’s main shortcomings has been the absence of a parallel security track that could have created a forum to bridge rival armed groups....a broader dialogue between the military coalitions in the east and west never kicked off.
Haftar has rejected every draft so far of the agreement. He will not talk with the Libya Dawn militia associated with the GNC since he considers them terrorists. Haftar has twice prevented his own prime minister from leaving Libya. There is almost zero likelihood that the HoR will accept the draft agreement since it is almost certain not to allow Khalifa Haftar to remain as commander of the armed forces of the Government of National Accord.
As often happens, what Leon leaves out is often more important than what he says in his press releases. Leon leaves out any mention of a parallel military dialogue or of its importance. He also does not provide us the text of the new agreement. When a questioner asked what were the differences between the present document and the last amended draft Leon said: The difference as I said is a number of details that requires further clarification. Some guarantees that had to be enforced, some definitions that the text requires. So, we have been working in the last days on these ones. Leon managed not to actually list any specific differences just that there is some of this and some of that! This time around, he insists that the text will not be changed but voted on as is with no amendments. He said that of the last draft as well before it was amended. This time it appears he means it. The time has come for the two governments to vote on the agreement.
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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