UNSMIL’s Bernardino Leon has been doubling efforts to reach an agreement at the negotiating table of stakeholders in the Libyan conflict. With a week left before his mandate comes to an end late this month Leon has engaged key political parties, civil society and influential figures in a dialogue track in Algiers, which concluded with an eleven point agreement that calls in essence for a peaceful political solution in Libya. In Morocco, Leon has been struggling to sustain a fresh round of political dialogue between Tripoli’s GNC and Tobruk’s HoR. On Friday 20 March, the GNC’s Libya Dawn forces countered the offensive launched by the pro-Haftar Zintan Qaaqaa and Sawaiq militia on Azizia, 45 km south of Tripoli. In the first hours of the offensive in the evening of Thursday 19 March, Tobruk political figures went on TV to declare a quick victory and scrap the UN dialogue. Those statements on the eve of the dialogue in Skhirat, Morocco, put Leon in an awkward position that compelled him to mention Abdulah Thenni and Mamoud Jibril as obstacles to a political solution in Libya that could come under UNSCR 2174 sanctions. As the battles rage on different fronts in the east, the Gulf of Sirte and Benghazi, the dialogue in Morocco has very little chance of delivering an agreement. While the GNC agrees to a national unity government to govern the remainder of the transition, they consider Haftar as a deal breaker who should not have any role in the future of Libya. The HoR’s appointment of Haftar as general commander of the armed forces in recent weeks is understood in Tripoli as a clear signal that Tobruk is not willing to find a political solution. Tripoli believes that the nomination of Haftar was imposed on the HoR by Tobruk’s regional backers, which explains the undecided and hesitant posture of the HoR delegation in Morocco. In order to salvage the dialogue process Leon flew early this week to Tobruk meet Salah Aguila, president of the HoR but Leon was forced to fly back without even leaving the airport. With ISIS in control of Sirte where a battle looms between the Libya Dawn forces and armed groups operating under the ISIS banner, Libya seems heading towards further fragmentation.
Links for more information: