British pound climbs as government makes U-turn on tax cut plan    Egypt's net foreign assets decline again to reach $925 million in August    Turkey's inflation jumps to 83% highest level in nearly in 24 years    Egypt's FM heads to Congo Today to attend PRECOP27 conference    King Charles III won't attend COP27 in Egypt, following PM Truss advice    Swedish coastguard says: Fourth leak discovered on Nord Stream pipelines    Egyptian gecko invades Israel    Egypt welcomes back Russian flights on 1st October    Egypt launches 200 Years of Continuing Science tourism campaign    Egypt, UAE partner on sustainable waste management in Sharm el-Sheikh ahead of COP27    QNB Group names TikToker Khaby Lame official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 brand ambassador    Three possible scenarios as Egypt's central bank governor resigns – MP    Adele is living a love story, wants to be a homemaker    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's Sisi names 13 ministers in Cabinet reshuffle    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Can final Libya negotiations be relaunched?
Published in Ahram Online on 15 - 09 - 2020

Last week, members of the Tubruk parliament and the Supreme State Council (SSC) in Tripoli met with a number of politicians in the Moroccan city of Bouznika and in the Swiss city of Montreux, under the auspices of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), after the Security Council renewed the agency's mandate on Tuesday for another year until 15 September 2021. UNSMIL was restructured according to a US vision that separated mediation in the Libyan peace process from daily activities and the agency's support mission in Libya, alongside intense diplomatic efforts by those in charge of the Libyan portfolio in countries interested in Libya, especially Egypt and France.
At Bouznika, five MPs from Tubruk met with five members of the SSC throughout last week, declaring at the end of their talks that they reached “comprehensive agreement on the transparent and objective standards and mechanisms for assuming key government positions”. They also agreed “to continue this dialogue and meet again in the last week of September to continue necessary steps to ensure these agreements are enforced and implemented”.
In a joint statement, participants said the preparatory meetings at Bouznika aimed to “reach consensus between the two bodies about key sovereign posts... amid an atmosphere of understanding, brotherhood and agreement”. The talks comply with Article 15 of the Skhirat Agreement signed in 2015, and confirmed the outcome of the Berlin Summit which supports a political solution, as well as Security Council resolutions. Participants urged the UN and global community to support Moroccan efforts to create the necessary climate to reach a comprehensive political settlement in Libya.
In Montreux, several key Libyan figures met under the sponsorship of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva, which is partnering with UNSMIL to prepare the Libyan dialogue. The talks were attended by UNSMIL head Stephanie Williams whose tenure ends later this month. A final communique included seven recommendations for the political dialogue committee that is planning to meet soon, under UN auspices in Geneva, and described the Montreux talks as paving the way for relaunching political dialogue as part of the Berlin Process to reach a preliminary stage ahead of a comprehensive solution in Libya. This would require amendments in the current political agreement document and restructuring the executive authority it created, namely the Presidential Council (PC) and Government of National Accord (GNA). Participants in the political dialogue will cut down the number of members of the PC to three representatives from the country's historical regions, separating the GNA from the PC and appointing a prime minister. An interim government will work for 18 months to “prepare suitable conditions to hold parliamentary and presidential elections based on agreed upon constitutional foundations”.
Participants also agreed that PC members and the prime minister “will be chosen by the Political Dialogue Committee (PDC), and the prime minister will form a government with an eye on protecting Libya's unity, geographic, political and social diversity. The cabinet will then be put to a confidence vote”. The PDC will be in charge of “evaluating and monitoring the Executive Authority to ascertain it is on task, and call on parliament and the SSC to reach agreement on key political posts and the electoral track within a reasonable time. Also, for the relocation of executive institutions and parliament to Sirte during the interim phase to take over powers, as soon as security and logistical conditions are ready.”
The talks at Bouznika and Montreux were praised by the US, France, German, UNSMIL, EU, Arab League and African Union, since they are seen as “a critical turning point in the long journey to find a comprehensive solution in Libya”. The meetings came at a time when there is growing public anger inside Libya due to dilapidated living conditions and rampant corruption. Also, international and regional discontent with Libyan leaders and their political performance, which allowed certain global and regional powers to become involved in the conflict, especially Russia and Turkey which are strengthening their foothold on the ground at the expense of other traditional influencers in Libya.
The atmosphere at Bouznika and Montreux was similar to conditions in Libya during the autumn and winter of 2014 when former UN envoy Bernardino Léon launched a dialogue in Ghadames, which later moved to Geneva and then Skhirat in Morocco. This track was finally crowned with the signing of a political agreement which is still in place. In recent years, UNSMIL, led by German diplomat Martin Kobler followed by Lebanon's Ghassan Salame, tried to facilitate dialogue between the parliament in Tubruk and the SSC in Tripoli to agree on amending the political agreement and review the appointment of key political positions, but these efforts failed to jumpstart the political stalemate that pertains until today. Participants in earlier meetings, before Bouznika and Montreux, had agreed to move forward on the political process, but none of them honoured their promises during these talks that were either sponsored by UNSMIL or international and regional players.
So far, UNSMIL has not set a date to relaunch the troubled Berlin Process despite overwhelming international praise for the preliminary meetings in Bouznika and Montreux in anticipation of what decisions the Security Council will take, to decide the mandate of UNSMIL inside Libya and the new envoy's role in the Libyan peace process.
To promote the Libyan peace process, next month the EU plans to lift sanctions on Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, former chairman of the General National Congress Nouri Abusahmain, and former head of the salvation government Khalifa Al-Ghweil, which were placed in 2016. This would boost Europe's role in Libya to counter Turkish and Russian influence. France is also becoming more involved. The website Africa Intelligence, which is close to the French intelligence community, reported Monday that Paris is preparing to host a Libyan summit next week to include Saleh, the commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar, and PC chairman and GNA head Fayez Al-Sarraj. This would crown the Bouznika talks under UNSMIL auspices, according to a French diplomatic source.
France wants German and Italian support for this move, as Paris tries to undercut growing Turkish influence in West Libya and East of the Mediterranean. The French initiative proposes talks among Libyan leaders without having them meet in one place, in order to decide the most prominent players. Three new senior advisers at the Elysée are working on the issue, and recently Army General Thomas Pierre was appointed as defence attaché in West Tripoli, after he was transferred from the French Embassy in Berlin.
Cairo hosted a delegation from West Libya that included members of the SSC, parliament and key political and military figures from Misrata to open channels of communication with Egypt. The delegation met with the Egyptian Committee on Libya headed by its new chairman, General Ayman Badie.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 September, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.