Tag Archives: Skhirat

Borrell promotes Berlin Process in Libya

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell visited Libya on Tuesday 1st September for the first time since the beginning of his mandate in a move of support of the relentless efforts of the bloc to advance the political process and engage the conflicting parties in a meaningful dialogue to estalblish lasting peace.

Borrell met with the Chariman of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Faiez Serraj in Tripoli, whose status is argued by his foes, underlining that the mandate was given to him by Skhirat Agreement (17 December 2015) for one year, and has expired a long time ago.

The Hight Representative of EU has also met with Aguila Saleh in Al Qubah from the eastern Libya, the speaker of the House of Representatives, whose status is acknowled by the UN Security Council as the sole legislator of Libya.

In his meetings, Josep Borrell reiterated the EU’s support to an inclusive Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political resolution of the conflict and confirmed that Libya remains on top of the EU’s political agenda. He discussed the latest developments in the country, and conveyed EU’s strong and unwavering commitment to preserve Libya’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national unity.

The visit of the High Representative took place shortly after the 21 August when both
Chairman Serraj and Speaker Saleh, although not jointly, but nevertheless in separate annoncements declared the for a ceasefire. The other issues of discussions were aimed at the next round of talks of 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) targeted at the ending the fighting in the country, return of foreign fighters, modalities for lifting the oil blockade, and the relaunch of the political process leading to an agreed reform and eventual elections.

In his meetings in Tripoli and Al Qubah, the Borrell welcomed the ceasefire and underlined the need for its prompt sustainable implementation. He was encouraged to hear the determination and commitment from his Libyan interlocutors to work in this direction, and to implement these principles in the framework of the UN-led Berlin process. This process, the EU top diplomat said, is the only international framework that offers a realistic opportunity for the political dialogue needed to bring the Libyan conflict to an end. Further the discussions focused on the required mediation efforts and de-escalation measures, including the enforcement of the UN arms embargo and EU operation Irini’s role in its implementation.

In the meeting with Chairman Serraj and his team members, the High Representative also discussed other issues of common concern, including migration management and the recent public demonstrations.

In Tripoli, Josep Borrell also met with the Chairman of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla to discuss the stressful situation of the oil blockade that urgently requires joint international resolve to prevent a collapse of Libya’s oil sector, which is crucial for Libya’s economy and the prosperity of its people.

During his talks in Al Qubah with Speaker Saleh, the High Representative got additional updates about the situation in eastern Libya and spoke about related prospects for a peaceful resolution of the Libyan conflict.

Libya crisis deepens

Skhirat agreement signed under UN auspices “remains the viable framework for a political solution in Libya until amendments or replacements are found” said European Commission spokesperson, reacting on Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar unilateral declaration to of the agreement being invalid. The EU spokesperson also reiterated the previous EU calls for an inclusive Libyan-led peace process to find a political solution with the participation of all parties involved in the conflict and the help of the international community.

Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar declared a landmark United Nations-brokered Skhirat (2015) agreement “a thing of the past,” and pledged his authorities would move toward creating a new government. The UN-brokered agreement linked by Libya’s warring factions in the Moroccan coastal town of Skhirat so has been the only the framework so far of a political settlement in Libya.

The political agreement destroyed the country,” Haftar said. “We will work to create the conditions for building permanent civic institutions.”

Haftar, commander of Libya’s National Army (LNA), controls most of eastern and southern Libya. The UN-supported administration in Tripoli rules just a strip of the country’s west.
While Haftar has not yet dissolved any state institutions, such as the eastern-based House of Representatives, often referred to as Tobruk Parliament, said his armed forces “accept the people’s mandate to run the country.”

In a speech last week, Haftar asked Libyans to hold demonstrations and give him a mandate to rule. Despite a curfew imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, crowds thronged the streets of Benghazi and chanted slogans against the rival Tripoli administration chairs by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Khalifa Haftard decision to declare himself unilaterally the ruler of Libya is unacceptable, Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez Al-Sarraj said, commenting on the rival’s move.

Apparently Haftar’s decision has not been appreciated even by the Russian diplomacy usually sympathetic vis-à-vis the commander. At his April 28 press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia did not approve of Haftar’s statements. Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, also called the news of Haftar’s unilateral actions “very disturbing.”

Haftar is stuck in a deadlock, Leonid Isaev, an associate professor at the Higher School of Economics, told Vedomosti newspaper.

He has not been able to take Tripoli for a year now, and because of this there is no way to speak at international negotiations from a position of strength, as he would like,” the expert said. The alignment of forces does not change in any way from his statement, since it is just an attempt to justify oneself for these failures, Isaev explained. According to him, last month, when the support of external players almost dried up due to the coronavirus pandemic, Haftar and Sarraj were left alone, and Haftar still couldn’t significantly advance on the battlefield, the expert said. “Neither one of them has sufficient resources to defeat the other, and ‘the great powers’ and regional allies are clearly occupied now,” he concluded.

In a video message on April 27, Haftar unilaterally declared himself the ruler of Libya.

Pointing to street demonstrations in areas under his control, he claimed he “accepted the mandate of the Libyan people” to govern the country.

Haftar said the Skhirat agreement signed in 2015 by the warring sides in Libya under the auspices of the UN is “a thing of the past“.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Khalifa Haftar in the east of the country, supported by the Libyan National Army (LNA), and Tobruk Parliament, and the GNA in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is based in the east, launched an offensive to take Tripoli last April which did not advance much, and stalled on the outskirts of the city.

However the move to abandon the UN-backed agreement has not come as a surprise. In December last year the Libyan diplomacy in Benghazi has already announced the Skhurat Agreement outdated, and void.

Al-Wefaq (GNA) government is unconstitutional, which did not gain confidence from the Libyan parliament, and rulings were issued against it by the Libyan courts that invalidated all decisions issued by them.
According to the Skhirat Agreement, which did not guarantee who else is also for the constitutional declaration, the first article / fourth paragraph states that the mandate of the reconciliation government is for one year only since it was given confidence by the Libyan parliament and renewed automatically for one year only, therefore the mandate of the reconciliation government has expired for a long time ago, this government can no longer conclude any treaties and agreements that bear any international obligations on Libya the Minister of foreign affairs of Libyan Interim government said in a video declaration.