Op-Ed: UN and others act as if Libyan unity government is a certainty

Posted Nov 27, 2015 by Ken Hanly
The Libyan Government of National Accord(GNA) is the unity government proposed in the Libyan Political Agreement(LPA). The final draft of the LPA was presented to the two rival governments some time ago by Bernardino Leon, then UN Special Envoy to Libya.
Martin Kobler UN Special Envoy to Libya
Martin Kobler UN Special Envoy to Libya
MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani
The new UN Special Envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, who took over on November 17, has continued where Leon left off by putting pressure on the two rival regimes to sign on to the LPA. In spite of constant pressure, Leon was unable to get either the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) in Tobruk or the General National Congress(GNC) in Tripoli to vote to approve the LPA. Both parliaments have issued statements opposing the LPA as it is, but Leon insists there are majorities favoring it but are prevented from voting by hard-liners.
Since Kobler took over he has been seeking and getting support for convincing the parties to sign the LPA and then moving ahead with formation of the GNA from many countries.Just recently he went to Qatar and the UAE. The UAE supports the HoR and its armed forces commander, Khalifa Haftar. Qatar looks more favorably on the GNC. Kobler also got support from the EU: The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, has expressed the union’s readiness to aid Libya and its expected Government of National accord (GNA) with a substantial 100-million-euro aid package. Mogherini delivered a warning that "Libya will face the further spread of insecurity and instability, an increased threat from terrorist groups, a worsening economic and financial situation, and a growing humanitarian crisis" if the talks continue to halt.
There is no sign Kobler is showing the least degree of flexibility even though both sides demand changes to the final draft and reject at least some of the names proposed for the GNA. He did, it seems, manage to persuade the HoR to meet to discuss the LPA, but the session was suspended after a fight, again with no vote. The pro-HoR Libya Herald reported 92 members had signed a statement supporting the LPA before the meeting. However, this is simply not true.The support was with the proviso that Haftar, the commander of the Libya National Army, retain his job. The group also did not accept some of the names that the UN put forward as members of the GNA. The present LPA would give the role of commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army to senior members of the the GNA, not Haftar. What the Herald calls "supporting the GNA" is just another form of rejection, but many do not even agree to that. There is no news as to what, if anything, is happening in the GNC parliament although it too is supposed to meet and vote on the LPA. There is not a peep out of the UN website about any of this, The most recent release is all about aid specialists meeting from across Libya: A UN-organized meeting of Libyan specialists involved in aid coordination in key national institutions from across Libya convened in Tunis on 25-26 November 2015 with a view to improve aid coordination and delivery mechanism as well as provide a solid plan for humanitarian and development assistance to the future Government of National Accord. This is not even the first meeting, as there was a meeting in October in London which also focused on support for the GNA.
At his first meetings after taking over, Kobler met not only with representatives of the two rival governments but senior members of the GNA named by Leon the Presidency Council. These people have no status since neither of the two parties have yet approved of the LPA and both have rejected some of the names in the draft. The proposed prime minister of the GNA is treated as if he is already an official with visits to Cairo to talk with officials there and also to Algiers.
It is hardly surprising that a group from the HoR rejects the GNA and describes it as "foreign tutelage." A meeting of Libyan mayors declared there was no international solution to Libya's problems — that Libya's problems can only be solved through a dialogue between Libyans without international participation.