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Op-Ed: GNA PM-designate Faiez Serraj in Indonesia for conference

According to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed in Skhirat, Morocco, on December 17, 2015, the GNA term does not begin until the LPA is approved, and the GNA is given a vote of confidence in the HoR. An amendment to the Constitutional Declaration is also required. In spite of two attempts the vote has yet to take place. There may be a vote on Monday in Tobruk or perhaps in Benghazi, but no formal announcement has been made.

In spite of this, the Indonesian government invited Faiez Serraj, the Prime Minister-designate of the GNA, to attend a special summit of heads of state from the 57 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation held in the capital Jakarta. The head of the recognized government of Libya is Abdullah Al-Thinni and the government is located in Tobruk. The GNA appears to be still in Tunis, but until it is given a vote of confidence does not really have legal status.

While the meeting is mainly about issues such as the expansion of Israeli settlements, and Israeli attempts to prevent Muslims from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Faiez is expected to lobby Muslim leaders to support the UN-endorsed GNA and the fight against terrorism in Libya. Serraj will also urge the leaders to back moves to drop UN sanctions against the sale of arms to Libya.

Faiez is not the only member of the GNA to be meeting with international officials. Ahmed Maetig, a deputy prime-minister designate, has gone to Rome for talks with Italian officials to determine how Italy can help support the GNA and advance security in Libya. Italy has offered to take the lead in any military operation requested by the GNA and approved by the UN. Italy is reported to be willing to send up to 5,000 troops to Libya, even though some warn that Italian troops on the ground could backfire. Italy once ruled Libya and still has considerable commercial interests there.

Two kidnapped Italian oil workers in Libya were just recently released from near Sabratha as forces loyal to the Tripoli government raided the building where they were held. The two claimed they were mentally devastated by their experience. Another two who were kidnapped at the same time were killed when the building they were held was attacked by security forces.

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