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article imageOp-Ed: UN, EU and others condemn attempted coup in Libya

By Ken Hanly     Oct 15, 2016 in World
Tripoli - The UN, the EU and the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNA) have all condemned the attempted coup yesterday by members of the Salvation Government of the former General National Congress (GNC).
Although the Interior Ministry of the GNA was ordered to arrest those involved in the coup, so far no action to do so appears to have been taken. There is tension and some violence in Tripoli but it is not clear that the violence is related to the attempted coup. As a tweet reminds commentators: User Actions "#Libya Worth noting there are pre-existing Tripoli militia disputes, some skirmishing may that + not related to rival govts. power struggle." Another tweet notes there are clashes between two militia in Tripoli: "Avoid BenGasheer,#Tripoli, due to ongoing fighting (tanks being used) btwn militias of BGasheer and Warshiffan. #Libya." So far, there appears to be no violence at the Rixos hotel buildings that the coup leaders seized which are now guarded by militia. The leader of the coup, Khalifa Ghwell is subject to EU sanctions for impeding the implementation of the LPA.
A recent DJ article gives details on the attempted coup. While the coup leaders captured the former headquarters of the Salvation Government, the Rixos Hotel, it did not occupy the naval base or quarters where the Presidential Council of the GNA meets. In fact the PC is meeting today to discuss the situation.
The EU issued a statement on the situation. The statement claimed that the use of force to claim power could only lead to "further disorder and a spiral of violence" with Libyans being the main victims. Of course, force is being used against the Islamic State and Haftar used force to seize four oil ports and is using it not only against the Islamic State (IS) but against jihadists in Derna who fought against IS. There is the standard never-ending call to support the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). The statement calls for the Presidency Council(PC) to set forth an inclusive new proposal for the formation of the GNA on which the House of Representatives(HoR) need to vote "in a fair and orderly manner". On October 22nd it will be two months since the GNA vote of confidence went down to defeat in the HoR. Yet there is no sign yet of a new cabinet nor a date for a meeting of the HoR on the issue. The EU offered continued support for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. The UN envoy, Martin Kobler, was not named.
Kobler condemned the coup attempt warning that it would bring "further disorder and insecurity". A tweet sums up the reaction of several stakeholders to the coup: "UNSMIL, EU & Western ambassadors to Libya condemn takeover of #StateCouncil HQs in Tripoli by members of exGNC,reaffirm support for GNA &LPA."
The U.S. State Department issued its own statement and demands that the seized buildings be returned back to the GNA: The United States is concerned about reports of violence in Tripoli and the use of force to take over the headquarters of the State Council. Government buildings in Tripoli should be returned to the control of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and all parties should exercise restraint. The United States reiterates its support for the Government of National Accord and the Libyan Political Agreement, and calls on all parties to work together toward creating a safe, prosperous and free Libya that provides for the needs of its people. The statement does not mention that the buildings were originally seized some time ago from the GNC by militia loyal to the GNA.
The reaction of the HoR government does not condemn the coup. A recent tweet notes: "The Interim Govt declares it is following Tripoli events with utmost interest, acknowledging the Salvation Government's declaration'" The coup leader Ghwell may attempt to renew a Libya-Libya dialogue and an agreement without foreign intervention that was discussed in Malta back in December of 2015. The weakness of the GNA has been shown by the lack of any quick reaction by security forces to put down the coup and retake the High Council of State headquarters.
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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