Af­ter ‘his­toric’ Malta meet­ing, Libyan politi­cians once again hit with EU sanc­tions

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

For the sec­ond time since Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat tri­umphantly posed with two ri­val Libyan lead­ers as they shook hands at Castile and de­clared Malta as a re­gional peace-bro­ker, those same two in­di­vid­u­als were once again slapped with sanc­tions by the Euro­pean Union on Fri­day. They are be­ing ac­cused of hin­der­ing the new UN-bro­kered Libyan gov­ern­ment from be­gin­ning work.

The Euro­pean Union sanc­tioned Agi­lah Saleh, par­lia­ment head in the eastern city of To­bruk, and Nuri Abu Sah­main, who leads the out­dated Gen­eral Na­tional Con­gress, as well as Khal­ifa Gh­weil, head of the so­called Na­tional Sal­va­tion Gov­ern­ment.

All three have been hit with travel bans and as­set freezes for “ob­struct­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion” of last De­cem­ber’s Libyan po­lit­i­cal agree­ment and the for­ma­tion of the so-called Gov­ern­ment of Na­tional Ac­cord.

Ac­cord­ing to an EU state­ment pub­lished on Fri­day, in view of the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion, the Coun­cil pro­longed the sanc­tions against Libya tar­get­ing three per­sons for six months.

On 1 April, the Coun­cil added the three per­sons to the list of peo­ple sub­ject to EU re­stric­tive mea­sures against Libya. The three, ac­cord­ing to the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union, “are viewed as ob­struct­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Libyan Po­lit­i­cal Agree­ment of 17 De­cem­ber 2015 and the for­ma­tion of a Gov­ern­ment of Na­tional Ac­cord in Libya.

“The Coun­cil re­mains con­cerned about the sit­u­a­tion in Libya, and in par­tic­u­lar about acts that threaten the peace, se­cu­rity or sta­bil­ity of the coun­try, and that im­pede or un­der­mine the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of Libya’s po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion.”

All three in­di­vid­u­als are be­lieved to have as­sets in Malta that will have to be or have been been frozen in line with the EU sanc­tions.

Back in 15 De­cem­ber 2015, in Malta, Agi­lah Saleh and Nuri Abu Sah­main said that the UNbro­kered – and EU sup­ported – deal was not in the best in­ter­ests of the Libyan peo­ple and that it would not be signed.

In­stead, the two Libyan sides agreed to start form­ing com­mit­tees as from the next day to work on all the pos­i­tive points that had emerged dur­ing the di­a­logue, even­tu­ally lead­ing to the for­ma­tion of a na­tional unity gov­ern­ment.

The meet­ing, hosted by Malta, had raised eye­brows in EU cir­cles and there were many who ques­tioned why Malta was host­ing such a meet­ing just a day be­fore they were to sign a peace ac­cord and form a na­tional unity gov­ern­ment pro­posed by the UN.

Agi­lah Saleh had said that the out­come of the di­a­logue meet­ing was a pos­i­tive one which showed that when Libyan lead­ers meet, prob­lems are solved.

“We would like to form a na­tional unity gov­ern­ment but do not want it to be forced upon us from out­side. For this gov­ern­ment to be formed, it must be agreed upon by all the peo­ple,” he said, while ex­tend­ing his grat­i­tude to the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment.

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