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Op-Ed: Libya — 2 rival regimes and now 2 rival unity government plans

Neither the internationally-recognized House of Representatives based in Tobruk in the east of Libya nor the General National Congress(GNC) based in the west have voted yet on the LPA or approved it, but both parliaments issued statements criticizing the LPA. However, 92 members of the HoR recently issued a statement, that although approving the LPA in principle, demands two crucial changes. One would keep General Khalifa Haftar as commander of the Libyan National Army. This is not only contradictory to the present LPA, which gives the job to senior members of the GNA — it is completely unacceptable to the other side. Why Kobler praises the statement is difficult to understand unless he is planning to cave to Haftar’s demands. Haftar strongly rejects the LPA and has consistently gone against UN demands while pursuing a military solution, Operation Dignity, to clear out all, Islamists from Libya including the military forces, such as Libya Dawn, associated with the GNC government.

The HoR meeting to vote on the LPA was suspended after a fight with no vote. This is not mentioned in any statements by Kobler. The UN continues to act as if its own version of the LPA will become reality in time in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Kobler behaves as if the members suggested by the UN for the Government of National Accord are actual functioning officials. The proposed Prime Minister Faiez Ferraj has actually met with Egyptian and Algerian officials, even though he has no official status in any Libyan government. No wonder we now have a competing vision of a Government of National Accord negotiated by members of the HoR and the GNC.

The declaration by some members of the HoR and the GNC on Saturday would form a 10-member committee with five coming from each parliament. The committee would name an interim prime minister and two deputies. An election would take place within two years. By that time there should be a new constitution. This proposal was a Libyan initiative. Many Libyans consider the UN LPA a plan being imposed on Libya by outside powers. The new proposal is quite surprising in that members of the rival governments, neither of which recognizes the other, actually met in the same room and negotiated. There are no doubt many in both camps who will not accept the recognition of the two rival governments as having an equal say in the formation of the new government.

Mohammed Abdul-Sadiq, first deputy head of the GNC, was optimistic about the plan: “This is a historic moment the Libyans were waiting for, the Arabs were waiting for and the world was waiting for.. If this solution receives real Libyan support – from the people and institutions – we will surely arrive in no more than two weeks or a month to a solution to solve the political crisis,”
This new plan complicates the situation for the UN. Kobler just recently announced a deal based on the UN LPA was close and should be completed by the end of December.

The new deal was signed in Tunis by Abdul-Sadiq for the GNC and Ibrahim Amaish from Benghazi of the HoR. However, it is not clear what authority either group had from their respective parliaments to approve such a deal. Certainly, there is no way that General Haftar would allow the HoR to approve such a deal.

Kobler finally issued an update about the dialogue process. The statement does not even mention the new agreement. This is typical of the UN mind-set. Do not mention any reality that does not fit in with UN plans: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya emphasized that the Libyan Political Agreement is the basis to end the conflict in the country. It has been negotiated for over a year and facilitated by the United Nations. It enjoys the support of the majorities of both House of Representatives and the General National Congress.
“The country needs peace in unity, it is divided now,” Kobler told Aljazeera International on 06 December. “It is now time for a rapid endorsement of the Libyan Political Agreement, the train has left the station.”He urges all Libyans to support this agreement including those who still oppose it.
The upcoming Rome conference co-chaired by Italy, US and the UN is an opportunity to demonstrate the determination of the international community on the way forward on the basis of the Libyan Political Agreement.

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The statement is all about continuing what the UN wants. The part about the LPA enjoying the support of majorities in each parliament has not yet been proven by a vote. Even if the LPA is approved it will be with amendments that will not be acceptable to one side or the other. Kobler seems determined that he will continue pushing an LPA that has been rejected for months by key figures in both parliaments and which neither parliament wants to vote on because of the further divisions this would create.

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