Libyan rival governments close to peace deal

Libyan rival government reportedly reaches feasible consensus on their long awaited political agreement and much needed peace deal

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and Head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Leon

Libya's rival governments have reached a "consensus" over the main elements their long awaited political agreement should include, Libya’s UN special envoy Bernardino Leon told reporters on Sunday.

The most recent text of the draft agreement was not immediately available. Several rounds of peace talks have collapsed in the past, in Morocco and Geneva.

The last round of peace talks took place in Skhirat, Morocco. The two sides were able to "overcome their differences" according to Leon, and consequently boosted the likelihood of signing a peace deal and a political agreement to form a unity government this month.

The country has been plunged in a violent streak of unrest since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Deep political divisions and tribal rivalry yielded two separate governments - the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk and a General National Congress (GNC) that convenes in Tripoli. Each boasts its own institutions and military capacities.

Leon called Morocco’s recent peace talks as the first time "that we have the possibility to make it and to have this agreement with all the key parties in Libya onboard," adding that both sides have made compromises.

"We know that it is going to require a lot of work, but we believe that it will be possible to reach this deadline of the 20th of September with an agreement that will be signed," said Leon.

"We have reached agreement on seven of the nine points in the political accord," said Ashraf al Shehh, political adviser to the General National Congress in Tripoli.

There were two issues relating to military and state appointments during an interim period and how to appoint members of the High Council of State, hindering the progress of the talks, according to Shehh.

He also reported intense consultations were in a hurry to wrap up the negotiations before September 20. "We are very hopeful that they will understand that this deadline of 20th of September must be the last one, must be the one that will allow Libya to get out of this crisis."

The UN’s envoy plan will as well push for a unity government deal by September 20, ahead of the UN General Assembly, with an interim government coming into force a month later.

That interim government would operate for two years, then work towards organising parliamentary elections.

Counter parties should put forth candidates for prime minister and two deputies to lead a national unity government to bring the war-torn country out of its crisis, Leon said.

The Tripoli-based government has 48 hours, starting Sunday, to submit the needed names for leadership positions in the unity government. The Tobruk-based government has already provided names.

TRTWorld and agencies