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Inter-Libyan Dialogue In Morocco: What Perspectives Of Success? – Analysis

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By hosting the inter-Libyan dialogue, crowned by a comprehensive agreement to end the Libyan crisis (1), Morocco has reconfirmed its status as a land of peace, reconciliation and dialogue, wrote the Colombian news site primiciadiario.com.

In an article devoted to the inter-Libyan dialogue rounds between the delegations of the Libyan High Council of State and the Parliament of Tobruk, held in Bouznika from September 6 to 10, primiciadiario.com highlighted the important role played by the Kingdom in helping the Libyan parties to find a political solution to their differences and thus enable this Maghreb country to emerge from the chaos in which it has been plunged since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Libyans talk to each other anew in Bouznika, Morocco

The inter-Libyan dialogue is progressing slowly but surely. At the end of a second round in Bouznika, the two parties to these negotiations were able to reach a consensus that augurs well for a definitive and lasting resolution to this conflict.

The continuation of these talks in a “serene and responsible” climate, allowing palpable progress, is a consecration of the Kingdom’s efforts to overcome the crisis in this country and to realize the hopes and aspirations of the Libyan people for peace, security and stability (2).

For the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, Nasser Bourita, “the agreements reached by the delegation of the High Council of State and that of the House of Representatives during the 2nd round of the inter-Libyan dialogue in Bouznika are decisive for the choice of the holders of the posts of sovereignty, in accordance with Article 15 of the Skhirate Agreement.“(3)

The minister said that by “sponsoring” these meetings, Morocco has ensured that they are “an inter-Libyan dialogue and not a dialogue on Libya and that the latter is conducted by the Libyans themselves without any interference, which allows the parties to agree and debate to reach a consensus.

He stressed that “the Bouznika dialogue has proved the efficiency of this approach which gives Libyans the possibility to solve their problems themselves, just as Libya does not need tutelage or interference.

In this sense, he assured that this dynamic could be beneficial to move forward in other processes that the Libyans will choose, and “Morocco is always willing to welcome them to continue the dialogue.”

This position of Morocco and its “unconditional” support of the Libyans and all their initiatives aimed at reaching consensus and resolving the crisis, have rightly been welcomed by the Libyan parties to these negotiations.

They thus reiterated, in the final declaration that sanctioned this second round, their thanks to the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco “which have helped overcome the obstacles, in order to achieve real Libyan agreements, in harmony with the provisions of the Libyan Political Agreement.

In the same spirit, the acting UN envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, considered that the inter-Libyan dialogue sessions, whose second round is currently taking place in Bouznika with a view to reaching a political solution to the Libyan crisis, constitute “a real opportunity to put an end to this long conflict for good.

The meetings in Morocco (…) have “greatly contributed to creating this unique opportunity to revive the Libyan political dialogue,” she said in a speech delivered at a press conference at the end of a dialogue session between delegations of the High Council of State and the Libyan House of Representatives.

Second round of talks satisfactory

Inter-Libyan talks resumed on Friday, October 2, 2020, in Bouznika. This second act brings together the delegations of the High Council of State and the House of Representatives. The hope for peace is growing in Libya. 

A new in the series of discussions between the leaders of the inter-Libyan dialogue for peace. After Act I, held from 6 to 10 September in Bouznika, Act II took place early October, which strengthens the hope among Libyans to see their country emerge permanently from the crisis.

The first act was aimed at maintaining the cease-fire. Thanks to the Moroccan mediation, the negotiations, which were broken off, were able to resume. Better still, a comprehensive agreement was signed in Bouznika on the criteria and transparent and objective mechanisms to occupy the positions of sovereignty.

This second act is an opportunity to continue the dialogue and resume meetings between the two parties “in order to complete the necessary measures to ensure the implementation and activation of this agreement,” as was recorded in the final joint communiqué that sanctioned the first meeting.

Both parties had affirmed, in this communiqué, that their discussions, which took place in “a friendly and fraternal atmosphere marked by understanding and consensus“, were based on their awareness of the current situation in the country at different levels. An extremely dangerous situation threatening the security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the State, born of negative foreign interventions that revive wars and regional and ideological alignments (4).

Both parties had likewise stressed that these meetings are taking place in application of article 15 of the Libyan political agreement reached in Skhirat in December 2015 and in confirmation of the conclusions of the Berlin conference supporting the political solution and on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and are explained by their awareness of the dangerous repercussions arising from the political and institutional division that has caused the citizen to lose confidence in the role of the legislative, executive and control institutions, due to the poor living conditions at all levels.

Determination to continue consultative meetings

As a reminder, the delegations of the High Council of State and the Libyan House of Representatives, stressed that this 2nd round was sanctioned by comprehensive agreements on the criteria and mechanisms for occupying the positions of sovereignty, provided for in Article 15 of the Libyan Political Agreement concluded in December 2015 in Skhirat.

In the final declaration issued at the end of their work (02/ 06 October), they stated that “the results of the dialogue between the two delegations constitute an input on which it is possible to capitalize, to establish stability in the country and put an end to the institutional division“.

They also expressed “their determination to continue their consultative meetings in the Kingdom of Morocco to coordinate the action of political, executive and supervisory institutions, thus ensuring the end of the transitional period.

Aware of the importance of sovereign institutions in the management of the country and the preservation of the values of the Libyan people, the delegations noted that “the dialogue sessions were distinguished by a spirit of national responsibility that gave priority to the general interest, with the aim of overcoming the current political division.

To this end, they affirmed that they will make available to the High Council of State and the Libyan House of Representatives the minutes of the agreements they reached during the 1st and 2nd rounds, in order to proceed with the measures of renewal of the structures of the sovereign institutions.

If the first round, held from 6 to 10 September in Bouznika, aimed to maintain the ceasefire and open negotiations to resolve the differences between the protagonists and resulted in a comprehensive agreement on criteria and transparent and objective mechanisms to occupy the posts of sovereignty, this second round is an opportunity to continue the dialogue and resume meetings between the two parties “to complete the necessary measures to ensure the implementation and activation of this agreement“, as was recorded in the final joint communiqué that sanctioned the first meeting.

As a reminder, the agreements of Skhirat, in the seaside town located 30 km from Rabat (capital of Morocco) are peace agreements concerning Libya. These agreements were signed on December 17, 2015 between the representatives of the National General Congress and those of the House of Representatives, in the Moroccan city of Skhirat (5). 

Morocco’s “constructive and active” role in facilitating the Libyan dialogue has been widely welcomed and appreciated by Western and Arab capitals and several international and regional organizations, headed by the United Nations (UN) which “supports all initiatives that would advance and complement the ongoing peace efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis, including the latest efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco which hosted the dialogue sessions between the High Council of State and the Libyan House of Representatives.

UN satisfied

In a speech delivered at a press conference following a dialogue session between delegations from the High State Council and the Libyan House of Representatives, Williams said the meetings in Morocco, in addition to the meetings held in Switzerland to provide recommendations on critical and necessary issues for a political resolution of the Libyan crisis, have “greatly contributed to creating this unique opportunity to revive Libya’s political dialogue.

The UN official said she was satisfied with the meeting, around the same table in Bouznika, of the two delegations to reach an agreement on the criteria for the selection of the persons who will occupy the posts of sovereignty, in accordance with the provisions of the Skhirat agreement concluded in December 2015, calling on the parties to continue their efforts to achieve this goal.

After praising the “tireless efforts” made to help resolve the Libyan crisis, Ms. Williams described as “encouraging” the cessation of hostilities and direct clashes between the two sides in recent months. However, she said that this cessation of hostilities may not last, if the Libyan protagonists do not reach a permanent ceasefire agreement and a comprehensive political solution to the crisis as soon as possible.

Ms. Williams stressed that resolving this crisis remains a top priority for the United Nations, given the “very difficult” conditions in which Libyans are living as a result of the continuing conflict. Therefore, Ms. Williams called for a comprehensive political agreement that meets the aspirations of all Libyan parties and sets Libya on the path to peace, stability and development.

She also urged all Libyans to continue to work to support the ceasefire and political dialogue, while participating constructively and responsibly in it and putting the interests of the country and the Libyan people first, with the aim of restoring Libya’s legitimacy and sovereignty and building a democratic state.

The two delegations had resumed, Friday evening 02 October, the second round, which comes almost a month after a first round that brought together the two parties (06-10 September) in Bouznika and which resulted in a comprehensive agreement on the criteria and transparent and objective mechanisms to occupy the positions of sovereignty.

The two parties had agreed, in the final joint communiqué sanctioning the work of the first round, to continue this dialogue and to resume their meetings in order to complete the necessary measures to ensure the implementation and activation of this agreement.

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter: @Ayurinu

Military situation in Libya on June 11, 2020. Pink areas under the control of the House of Representatives and the Libyan National Army. Green areas under the control of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and different militias forming the Libya Shield Force. Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Military situation in Libya on June 11, 2020. Pink areas under the control of the House of Representatives and the Libyan National Army. Green areas under the control of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and different militias forming the Libya Shield Force. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Endnotes:

  1. Cf.  Zia Weise. “The Libyan conflict explained. “in Politico of January 17, 2020. https://www.politico.eu/article/the-libyan-conflict-explained/

“Libya turned into a failed state following the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, whose overthrow in 2011 was aided by a NATO-led bombing campaign. Successive administrations have failed to control the country’s many militias, which wield the real power in Libya. Weapons proliferated in the rebellion’s aftermath despite an embargo.

Violence escalated in 2014, and after disputed elections that year the country became split between two administrations, with al-Sarraj taking the helm of the GNA in 2016. Meanwhile, Haftar launched a years-long military offensive that left him in control of large swaths of territory. The Islamic State briefly gained a foothold but was defeated.

2. https://unsmil.unmissions.org/

ASRSG STEPHANIE WILLIAMS OPENING REMARKS VIRTUAL PRESS ENCOUNTER UN HQ, NY, MONDAY 5 OCTOBER 2020:

“I will start by providing a summary of the high-level ministerial meeting on Libya which was co-chaired by the Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister of Germany. The meeting was attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and senior representatives from Member States and regional organizations that are part of the Berlin process, as well as from Libya’s neighboring countries.

On behalf of the Secretary General, I want to thank the Foreign Minister of Germany for convening this important meeting, which sends a critical message that the Libyan people need to hear: it is time to reach a ceasefire and an inclusive political settlement of the crisis.

The Secretary-General updated participants on recent developments, and welcomed progress since the declarations by President [Fayez] Serraj and Speaker Agila Saleh in August, as well the recommendations that emerged from the meetings in Montreux, the meeting in Bouznika and more recently the meeting in Hurghada.

The Secretary-General highlighted how recent developments represent a rare opportunity to restore peace in Libya.  He stressed that the future of Libya and of the entire region is at stake. He called on all Libyans to act constructively and responsibly to reach a political solution, as well as on the members of the international community to fully shoulder their responsibilities to promote an inclusive political solution.

Participants noted that Libya is an important, unsolved conflict of our times, with a devastating impact on the Libyan people but also on Libya’s neighbors. 

They reaffirmed their commitment to the conclusions of the conference on Libya held in Berlin in January 2020, as endorsed by the Security Council through its resolution 2510(2020).

Participants called for an inclusive political process where all Libyan political and social components are represented, but also for collective international action in the framework of the Berlin process to resolve the Libyan crisis.  They expressed full support for the intention of UNSMIL to reconvene intra Libyan talks, building on this recent progress. They also emphasized that the UNSMIL-facilitated process should be the only game in town to bring Libyans together to forge an inclusive political solution, and that and the International Community should unite behind and support these UN efforts. Bilateral and regional initiatives should all converge in support of the UN-facilitated process.

Participants welcomed the recent lull in hostilities and the de facto truce in Central Libya, they stressed the need to immediately stop all foreign military interventions in Libya and violations of the UN arms embargo. They urged the Libyans to swiftly implement a Demilitarized Zone in and around Sirte but also to agree on a lasting ceasefire in the framework of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission’s talks, which we expect to reconvene in the coming weeks.

They stressed the importance of ensuring the complete and unconditional lifting of the oil blockade, to allow the resumption of oil exports. In this regard, the participants welcomed the ongoing discussions in the framework of the Economy track regarding the equitable and transparent management of oil revenues among all regions of the country.

Participants expressed concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya, including on migrants and refugees. They welcomed the establishment in June by the Human Rights Council of the Fact-Finding Mission to investigate human rights violations in Libya, and committed to support its work. They urged all Member States to provide more resettlement and evacuation places for refugees and asylum seekers stranded in Libya.

3.  The Skhirat Accords (in Arabic: اتفاق الصخيرات) are peace agreements concerning Libya. These agreements were signed on December 17, 2015 between representatives of the National General Congress and the House of Representatives in the Moroccan city of Skhirat.

They provide for the formation of a government announced on January 19, 2016 and composed of thirty-two members. It is headed by Fayez el-Sarraj, who is also president of the Presidential Council. The agreement also provides for the establishment of a Presidential Council and a High Council of State.

On January 25, 2016, the House of Representatives refused to give its confidence to the new government.  As a result, El-Sarraj tendered his resignation along with that of his government.  The following day, January 26, he announced the formation of a new government within ten days.

On 14 February 2016, a new government of eighteen members was proposed.

On 12 March 2016, Fayez el-Sarraj took office. The government was sworn in without a vote of confidence, which could not take place. However, the government justified its legitimacy by a petition signed by the majority of the members of the House of Representatives and was supported by France, the United States, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

4. Cf. Mahnoor Saleem. “Foreign intervention in Libya. “in ModernDiplomacy of May 30, 2020.

“Since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Tripoli has transformed into an appalling sight of consistent injustice, rising fundamentalism and morbid law and order situation. Amidst the whirlwind of fractured institutions and failed socio political system in Libya, foreign countries have also found a suitable battleground for fighting their proxy wars. Currently, there are two governments operating in libya, each claiming to reflect the genuine mandate of Libyan people. The United Nations backed government of National Accord, under the leadership of President Fayaz al serraj is being supported by Turkey, Qatar, Italy and publically by all western democracies. Whereas, a shadow government, is being maneuvered from the eastern city of Tobruk. It enjoys the support of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates.

5. Cf. Crisis Group, Report No. 17 of November 4, 2016. “The Libyan Political Agreement: Time for a Reset. “ https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/north-africa/libya/libyan-political-agreement-time-reset

“The December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement, signed in Skhirat, Morocco, has reconfigured more than contributed to resolving internal strife. A year ago, the conflict was between rival parliaments and their associated governments; today it is mainly between accord supporters and opponents, each with defectors from the original camps and heavily armed. The accord’s roadmap, the idea that a caretaker government accommodating the two parliaments and their allies could establish a new political order and reintegrate militias, can no longer be implemented without change. New negotiations involving especially key security actors not at Skhirat are needed to give a unity government more balanced underpinning.

Skhirat sought to resolve the dispute between the House of Representatives (HoR) and its associated government, based respectively in the eastern cities of Tobruk and al-Bayda, and the General National Congress (GNC) and its government in Tripoli. It created a Presidency Council, a rump executive that took office in Tripoli in March 2016 and was tasked to form a unity government, and an advisory High State Council of ex-GNC members. The HoR was to continue as the sole parliament and approve the unity government, but it has yet to do so. The institutional set-up thus is incomplete, leading to a skewed result, while supporters and foes cling to technical legalities to buttress their positions.

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou is a Professor of education science at the university in Rabat. He is currently a political analyst with Moroccan, Gulf, French, Italian and British media on politics and culture in the Middle East, Islam and Islamism as well as terrorism. He is, also, a specialist on political Islam in the MENA region with interest in the roots of terrorism and religious extremism.

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