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Op-Ed: Violations of the Libyan Political Agreement and the UN

The original aim of the political dialogue was to have agreement on a Government of National Accord (GNA) and a peace settlement between the internationally recognized House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk and the rival General National Congress in Tripoli. After more than a year, a final draft of the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) failed to gain approval in either parliament. The UN decided to simply ignore the understanding that both parliaments had to agree to a deal. Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), simply gathered together members of the dialogue who supported the GNA to sign the agreement in Skhirat, Morocco, on December 17. No one bothers to point out this is a total rejection of the whole idea of the dialogue to have an agreement between the two parliaments. For the international community and the UN it was a great leap forward. So even though not authorized to sign by the respective parliaments, this was hailed a a positive step and an agreement between the two rival parties.Since the Skhirat agreement, the UN has continually violated the rules of the LPA. This article recalls just a few.

There are two articles 8. One is in the main text of the Skhirat agreement: Article (8) 2. Terms of Reference of the Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers:
a. Assume the functions of the Supreme Commander of the Libyan army b. Appointment and removal of the Head of the General Intelligence Service upon the approval of the House of Representatives.
The provision comes into force immediately upon the vote of confidence in the GNA by the HoR. There was no vote but the Political Dialogue supported by the UN claims that a letter signed by an alleged majority of the HoR approving the GNA was in effect equivalent to a vote of confidence. As yet there is no sign that the incumbent leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalfia Haftar, has been removed from this position. The HoR earlier demanded that section 8 be deleted as well as the GNA cabinet be reduced from 32. The LPA cannot be amended until after it is given a confidence vote. Fortunately, for the UN, the mainstream press seems to suffer severe short term memory loss and the issue has been deleted from their memory banks. This memory loss also applies to the other section 8 in the additional provisions on page 20 of the Shkirat agreement: Article (8) All powers of the senior military, civil and security posts stipulated in the Libyan legislations and laws in force shall be transferred to the Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers immediately upon signing this Agreement. The Presidency Council must take a decision on the occupants of such posts within a period that does not exceed twenty (20) days. In case a decision is not reached during this period, the Presidency Council shall take decisions on new appointments within a period that
does not exceed thirty (30) days, while taking into account the Libyan legislations in force.
This was to happen back on December 17. Yet nothing happened and almost no one noticed.

Another example of egregious violations of the LPA is evident in the setting up of the State Council, an advisory body to the GNA, a sop to the GNC who have no legislative power in the GNA. The HoR is the legislature in the GNA. The LPA says: Annex 3 Basic Rules for the Functioning of State Council Article 1 The State Council shall comprise one hundred and forty five (145) members who were elected during the General National Congress elections on 7 July 2012 as per the following: 1. One hundred and thirty four (134) male and female members of the General National Congress who enjoy sound membership at the signing this Agreement. The Presidency of the General National Congress shall submit a list containing the names of those members. Since the GNC rejects the GNA it has not presented any names for the State Council. Instead, Makhzoum who left the negotiating team of the GNC in August, but nevertheless signed the LPA in December, obediently drew up a list which was eagerly accepted by the UN. Makhzoum along with some other members of the State Council have been expelled from the GNC.

The UN has also decided to violate the basic provision of the LPA regarding a vote of confidence by the HoR in the GNA and its program. The HoR also needs to pass an amendment to the 2011 Constitutional Declaration to incorporate the GNA in it: 4.The term of the Government of National Accord shall be one year as of the date of granting it a vote of confidence by the House of Representatives. ….Article (3)
The Prime Minister, within a period that does not exceed one month of the adoption of this Agreement, shall submit a full agreed list of the members of the Government of National Accord and its programme to the House of Representatives to fully endorse it, grant it a vote of confidence and adopt its program in accordance with the legally stated procedures within a period that does not exceed ten (10) days of its submission to the House of Representatives.
The deadline was exceeded and no formal vote was taken but a letter supporting the GNA on which three signatures at least were not authorized was accepted as the vote of confidence. There was no incorporation of the GNA into the Constitutional Declaration.

The HoR is now apparently the legislature of the GNA. As such it has to approve all sorts of things under the LPA and also pass new laws. It remains to be seen if they accept such a role after being bypassed by the UN.

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