Is France’s par­tic­i­pa­tion the key to break­ing Libyan po­lit­i­cal dead­lock?

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM - By Mah­moud Dar­wesh The author is a writer with the Xin­hua News Agency. The ar­ti­cle first ap­peared on Xin­hua. opin­ion@glob­al­

It ap­pears recently that France, the coun­try who led the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion to over­throw the Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, no longer stands as a spec­ta­tor, but seeks a role in break­ing the ice in the po­lit­i­cal dead­lock in Libya.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron has man­aged to bro­ker a joint and di­rect meet­ing be­tween ri­val fac­tions in Libya, namely the UN-backed Prime Min­is­ter Fayez al-Sar­raj, and the com­man­der of the Libyan armed forces, Gen­eral Khal­ifa Haf­tar.

The meet­ing, held in Paris, an­nounced a 10-point joint agree­ment to cease fire across all of Libya, and to hold par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in March 2018.

It also stressed the will­ing­ness of the two sides to strengthen ef­forts in com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism in Libya and to speed up the in­te­gra­tion of fight­ers wish­ing to join the reg­u­lar forc- es, as well as calling for dis­ar­ma­ment and de­mo­bi­liza­tion of other fight­ers and rein­te­grat­ing them into civil­ian life.

“The French me­di­a­tion had a great in­flu­ence on the Libyan sit­u­a­tion. It will def­i­nitely end the dead­lock in Libya since sign­ing the Skhi­rat agree­ment, es­pe­cially since Paris has lately shown keen­ness and in­ter­est in Libyan af­fairs,” Mo­hamed Ab­dul­lah, a Libyan par­lia­ment mem­ber, told Xin­hua on Tues­day .

He went on to say that France’s par­tic­i­pa­tion also has an in­flu­ence on Libya’s neigh­bors, such as Tu­nis and Al­ge­ria, which con­sider Libyan af­fairs as a com­mon in­ter­est due to their close con­nec­tion in terms of fight­ing ter­ror­ism.

“We should not be overly op­ti­mistic, even though the out­come of the Paris meet­ing be­tween Haf­tar and Ser­raj ap­pears to be re­as­sur­ing,” the law­maker added.

“Pres­i­dent Macron did not ex­plain the pres­sure mecha- nisms to be ap­plied to the par­ties to en­sure the out­come of the meet­ing, most im­por­tantly the hold­ing of next year’s elec­tions.”

The Libyan par­lia­ment wel­comed the meet­ing of Sar­raj and Hafter, stress­ing that the ap­pli­ca­tion of the agree­ment must pass through the par­lia­ment and its di­a­logue com­mit­tee.

Mus­lim Brother­hood’s Jus­tice and Build­ing Party of Libya re­jected the out­come of the meet­ing, stress­ing that “there is no value for any amend­ments to the po­lit­i­cal agree­ment out­side the um­brella of the UN.”

“Hold­ing meet­ings un­der the aus­pices of in­di­vid­ual coun­tries is a de­vi­a­tion on the path of po­lit­i­cal agree­ment. This opens the way for the agen­das of those coun­tries to give lever­age for one party over the other, or deepen the divi­sion and con­tinue the cri­sis. Some coun­tries are the prob­lem, not the so­lu­tion,” the party said in a state­ment.

Ser­raj and Hafter’s meet­ing in France comes more than two months af­ter a sim­i­lar talk was held in Abu Dhabi, where the two agreed to de­velop a strat­egy for the de­vel­op­ment and build­ing of a uni­fied Libyan army, the in­te­gra­tion of the mil­i­tary in­sti­tu­tion un­der civil­ian author­ity, and the uni­fi­ca­tion of all ef­forts to fight ter­ror­ism.

Since the Abu Dhabi meet­ing, there has been no di­rect meet­ing be­tween the two par­ties to im­ple­ment the out­come of the Abu Dhabi meet­ing, with no rea­sons spec­i­fied.

Un­der Ar­ti­cle 8 of the Libyan UN-spon­sored po­lit­i­cal agree­ment, se­nior mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity posts are ap­pointed by the govern­ment, whose prime min­is­ter holds the rank of the Supreme Com­man­der of the Armed Forces.

How­ever, this ar­ti­cle mains con­tro­ver­sial.

It was re­jected by the head of the Par­lia­ment and Hafter, in­sist­ing that the supreme com­man­der of the army is the head re- of the Par­lia­ment.

The Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion in Libya wel­comed the out­come of the Paris meet­ing, con­sid­er­ing it very pos­i­tive and im­por­tant to re­solve the po­lit­i­cal cri­sis and help­ing the suc­cess of the Libyan po­lit­i­cal agree­ment.

“It is im­por­tant to speed up the de­vel­op­ment of mech­a­nisms to im­ple­ment the Paris joint state­ment as well as the Abu Dhabi meet­ing out­come, ac­cord­ing to a spe­cific timetable in order to end hu­man, se­cu­rity and eco­nomic suf­fer­ing in Libya due to po­lit­i­cal divi­sion,” said Ahmed Ab­delHakim Hamza, rap­por­teur of the Na­tional Com­mit­tee for Hu­man Rights in Libya.

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