Libya Tribune

Hafter, again, plays the game of bluffing. He declared the LPA over and the Presidency Council no longer legitimate.

This declaration proves that he did not read the document of the Libyan Political Agreement, nor did he read the political moods of the regional and international players vis a vis his many claims and empty threats.

The following reaction statements are issued after his declaration:

***

Regional: Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria support Libyan Political Agreement

The foreign ministers of Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria renewed their support for the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) as a framework for a political solution in Libya.

The ministers, in a statement issued at the end of their meeting on Sunday, called on all Libyan parties to uphold the interests of the country and to compromise to allow the implementation of UN special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame’s plan of action.

The statement reaffirmed the rejection of Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria of any foreign interference in Libya, any forms of internal escalation or any attempt by any Libyan party aimed at undermining the political process.

***

Regional: Algeria reaffirms support for LPA in Serraj flying visit to Algiers

The Algeria government has reassured Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraj that today’s supposed 17 December expiry of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed in Skhirat two years ago is of no significance for it. Algerian prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia told him that his government continues to support the LPA and the PC.

The two also discussed cooperation between the two countries and the agenda for meeting early in the new year of the Algerian-Libyan joint committee. It is expected to focus on border security and the smuggling of weapons and illegal immigrants.

Serraj had flown in from Tunis for the talks which were attended by Algerian foreign minister Abdelkader Messahel. He then flew back to Tripoli immediately after they were over.  Messahel also flew to the Tunisian capital afterwards for tripartite talks on Libya with his Tunisian and Egyptian opposite numbers.

***

International: Salamé calls on Libyan parties not to wreck political process

UN envoy Ghassan Salamé has urged Libya’s various factions to refrain from spoiling the on-going political process. His statement was published on 17 December, and clearly had that date in mind.

There is a view in Libya that 167 December signals the end of the Libyan Political Agreement, not least Khalifa Hafter.  Today he declared the LPA over and the Presidency Council no longer legitimate.

I have also heard from Libyans, across the country, that they are fed up with violence and living in fear. They hope for a political solution, for reconciliation and for harmony. They see the political process as the only path to the stability and the unity of their country,” Salamé said.

Thus, I urge all parties to heed their voices and refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process,” he added.

Salamé insisted that free and fair elections next year would result in institutional and political normality in Libya.

It will provide the Libyan people with what they want most – predictable governance, decent living standards and dignity,” he said.

Referring to his Action Plan, Salamé added that UNSMIL was “intensively trying to establish the proper political, legislative and security conditions for elections to be held before the end of 2018”.

He also called on Libyans to register to vote so they could hopefully live in an effective state that provided important services such as security, public health and education.

***

National: Nawasi forces in Tripoli reject Hafter comments; Bishr calls for elections

Tripoli’s Nawasi brigade has condemned the declaration from Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter yesterday that the Skhirat agreement is finished and the Presidency Council no longer legitimate.

It described Hafter’s words as a “coup against the democratic process” and an attempt to destroy the peaceful transfer of power.

Hafter was “foiling all international, local and Arab efforts” to restore stability in Libya, Nawasi said. It declared its “total rejection of these statements”.

The reaction followed comments by Hashem Bishr, the powerful Tripoli commander and security advisor to the Presidency Council, who underlined the “necessity” of having parliamentary elections. Today, he reiterated the sentiment, declaring that there had to be “elections and nothing other than elections.”

Libya had been divided politically and economically since 2014 with most sovereign and financial institutions split, he said. There were even rival intelligence agencies, Bishr noted. Without these institutions united as one, conflict was inevitable, he added.

In a Facebook post, Bishr blamed the conflict since 2014 on the separation of legislative and state powers and, as such, he insisted elections had to take place soon.

Without this unification, the economy would not improve, living conditions for normal Libyans would not get better and peace was unlikely to come, Bishr said.

We must be free of resentment” and Libya must rise above hatred to unify the country, he declared. Continued queues for food, gas and money would not end if the officials in key institutions remained estranged and divided, he added.

____________