Op-Ed: UN Libyan envoy meets with speaker of HoR in Oman

Posted Jun 29, 2016 by Ken Hanly
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Martin Kobler, met with the speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) Ageelah Salah in Oman.
The UN envoy for Libya  Martin Kobler (C-R) poses for a picture with Libyans during a tour in the Tr...
The UN envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler (C-R) poses for a picture with Libyans during a tour in the Tripoli's old city on April 5, 2016
Taha Jawashi, AFP/File
The talks discussed when the HoR might meet to vote confidence in the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). After the vote of confidence, the HoR will become the legislature of the GNA. According to the LPA, the HoR also has to amend the Constitutional Declaration of 2011 to include the GNA but this for some reason is not even mentioned.
Kobler tweeted later that the meeting was "constructive, franc (sic) & open dialogue." He said both had agreed upon the urgent need for political and military progress but there was no sign of any political agreement. As well as meeting with Salah, Kobler also attended a meeting with a number of HoR members who accompanied Salah to Muscat, the capital of Oman.
Separately, Kobler discussed the Libyan situation with Yusuf bin Abdullah, foreign minister of Oman. Oman has been attempting to mediate in Libya and invited Salah and his delegation to come to Oman to discuss the issues preventing the HoR from voting confidence in the GNA. Kobler has met numerous times with Salah but has been unable to have the HoR vote confidence in the GNA. A number of meetings of the HoR were held but there was no quorum. Two meetings where there was a quorum were disrupted with no vote. Salah has been sanctioned by the EU for impeding progress on implementation of the LPA, although it is not clear how he is responsible for the many meetings where there was no quorum. The HoR is unlikely to vote confidence in the GNA unless they are given assurances that Haftar will remain head of the Libyan National Army within the GNA. The LPA makes the Presidential Council (PC) of the GNA the acting commander in chief until a new one is appointed. Haftar has recently changed his position on working with milita associated wtih the GNA. This may be a sign that some deal with Haftar might be possible, although it is not clear how the requirements of the LPA can continue to be honored if Haftar retains his position.
No details are given of any positive results from the talks. As usual, inconvenient facts are left out. Kobler had tweeted last weekend: "Martin Kobler: I'll be in tobruk tomorrow to encourage everyone to vote on the Govt of National Accord #GNA". It appears that there was no meeting and that Kobler did not go to Tobruk. This is not worth mentioning apparently.
Kobler has used Oman before as a place to hold meetings — security is much better than in Libya. The Constitutional Drafting Assembly held meetings there. There were boycotters and many who would not go because they thought that the meeting should have been held in Libya. Nevertheless, the meeting was held and the draft was agreed upon. When the group returned to Libya they changed the quorum requirements to make the votes in Oman legal. A Bayda court ruled that the changes were not legal. Even the manner of submission of the draft to the HoR violated the LPA. The assembly earlier in February had to replace its chair who was disqualified as an American.