Egypt's FM heads to Congo Today to attend PRECOP27 conference    King Charles III won't attend COP27 in Egypt, following PM Truss advice    Egypt's domestic population records 104 million – CAPMAS    European markets close higher as Stoxx600 records worst month since June    Swedish coastguard says: Fourth leak discovered on Nord Stream pipelines    U.S. stocks end September mixed    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.



Peace still out of reach
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 03 - 01 - 2017

The opening days of the new year brought renewed Egyptian and Algerian efforts to contain a new escalation in the political and military crisis in Libya in advance of a new round of talks expected to take place soon with the purpose of revising and renegotiating parts of the Libyan Political Accord (LPA) that was signed in Skhirat, Morocco, 17 December 2015.
Sources close to the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli told Al-Ahram Weekly that a meeting, sponsored by Algeria, due Wednesday between Presidency Council Chairman Fayez Al-Sarraj and the commander general of the Libyan Army in the east, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Although sources stated that the “results will not be publicised,” they anticipate that the meeting will produce new understandings that could pave the way for progress in the political process which has been floundering for over a year.
Haftar told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that he is not was not willing to meet with Al-Sarraj in Algiers and he was not willing to negotiate with certain militias in Tripoli.
In late December, Field Marshal Haftar visited Algeria where he met with Prime Minister Abdel-Malek Sellal and Minister of Maghreb Affairs Abdel-Kader Messahel. According to Libyan sources, Haftar told the Algerian officials that he was determined to press ahead with his military campaign to secure control of Tripoli that is currently in the grip of rival Islamist militia groups, a stance that Algiers fears will only lead to further deterioration and cause the security situation to spiral out of control in western Libya, which is steeped in very intricate socio-political conflicts.
Shortly after the Haftar visit, the GNA's Al-Sarraj flew to Algeria for a meeting with Sellal and Messahel who presented him with an Algerian initiative that seeks to unify the Libyan armed forces under the command of the Presidency Council in its capacity as the supreme authority during the remaining period of the current interim phase in Libya.
According to Libyan sources, the initiative, a copy of which had been handed to Haftar during his visit, proposes appointing General Haftar as defence minister in the GNA and conferring the post of general chief of staffs on an officer affiliated with Misrata. The authors of the initiative believe that this step will strike a balance within the military establishment between the two largest military forces in the country at present and forestall conflict between them. Yesterday, Wednesday Haftar was scheduled to meet Sarraj. And in the meantime, Musa Al-Koni resigned as deputy prime minister.
Likewise, there are signs of an escalation of the military situation in southern Libya and the Union of the Revolutionaries of the City of Misrata have also scheduled a meeting to take place tomorrow, Saturday.
In early December, before the meetings with Haftar and Sarraj, Algiers invited Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh for talks with Sellal and Messahel on developments in the Libyan political crisis.
During this period, Cairo organised three meetings with a range of Libyan political and social leaders, activists, journalists, intellectuals and House of Representatives members. The latter met separately with the Egyptian committee charged with monitoring the Libyan situation, which is chaired by Egyptian Chief of Staffs Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazi.
The meetings began mid-December. The first was attended by more than 40 Libyan figures and the second by more than 30 intellectuals, journalists and other influential social figures among whom were representatives of the former regime in Libya. In the last meeting, which took place earlier this week, a number of House of Representatives members met with Lieutenant General Hegazi in order to bridge points of view in the hope of reaching a political settlement to the Libyan crisis.
A press release issued by the Egyptian committee on Libya stated that the meeting was held “to follow through on efforts that seek to resolve the points of dispute that caused the political deadlock in Libya” and to create “mechanisms that will contribute to the political settlement and that will include all parties involved in this crisis and, above all, the members of the House of Representatives and the members of the Libyan Council of State.”
The statement expressed hope that these efforts will help ease the suffering of the Libyan people.
The participants in the meetings in Cairo are known to favour the Egyptian position, which supports General Haftar and House of Representatives Speaker Saleh. In a meeting with officials in Cairo last week, Saleh discussed a number of demands, including renegotiating the LPA, changing the Libyan dialogue committee, reducing the number of Presidency Council members from nine to three (a president and two vice-presidents), and bolstering General Haftar's position in the political/security process.
UN Special Envoy to Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Martin Kobler stated that the question of whether or not to alter the LPA is up to the Libyan people, but he stressed that it was important to identify which articles needed amending before proceeding in this direction. The statement further whetted General Haftar's appetite to press forward with his military expeditions in the south in order to strengthen his position on the ground in advance of new negotiations that are expected to begin February.
The security situation in Tripoli and southern Libya has been growing steadily worse and more complicated, especially following the escalatory steps taken by the pro-Haftar General Mohamed Ben Nayel who announced that he had seized control of Barak Al-Shati airbase where the Third Force, which is allied with Misrata, had been stationed until recently. Observers fear that this development will open a new southern front in the civil war. Already commanders of Operation Bunyan Marsus, whose forces are drawn primarily from Misrata, have threatened to retaliate against any attacks against the Third Force in the south. The situation has also aggravated the rapidly increasing tensions between the militia groups that control the capital and other parts of western Libya.
Against this highly volatile backdrop, the reopening of the LPA for negotiation furnishes the tinder that could easily reignite armed conflict between rival Libyan factions and compound the fragmentation of fragile alliances between the various parties which, for more than two years, have been unable to agree on a clear political process that would lead to a resolution of the Libyan crisis and steer the country to social and economic recovery. The increased fragmentation and multiplication of lines of polarisation will only put a viable solution further out of reach, even if regional stakeholders in the Libyan crisis stand a better chance of reaching a settlement in 2017, given regional and international developments.


Clic here to read the story from its source.