Panafrican News Agency

Libyan media highlight Skhirat deal, reports of US blocking appointment of new UN Libya envoy

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The initiative of foreign powers to revive the political deal signed in 2015 in the Morocco city of Skhirat to bring peace to Libya and attempts to have Skhirat II was one the major items covered the Libyan media last week.

The media also highlighted reports that the US is blocking the nomination by the UN Secretary-General of a new Special representative and chief of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to replace Ghassan Salamé, who resigned last March.

The announcement of an international audit of the two branches of the Libyan central bank, in Tripoli and Benghazi, by the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Stephanie Williams, was another subject covered by the Libyan media, highlighting the hope of normalising the functioning of the bank by unifying the two branches.

The al-Wassat newspaper said that finally, Morocco has again entered the process to find a solution to the Libyan crisis, after its name disappeared following the conclusion of the Skhirat deal. 

Under the headline, "Regional movement for a remake of Skhirat II," the newspaper said that Morocco returned to the scene through the meeting of the two main protagonists of the crisis -- the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Parliament), Aguila Saleh, and the chairman of the High Council of State, Khaled al-Mechri -- which indicates that the country will play the role of mediator in the Libyan crisis over the coming days.

The newspaper said it might be that we are moving to the revision of the Skhirat deal, by taking into account the recent initiatives of neighbouring countries and western parties for a new agreement within the framework of the accelerated regional competition, not different from the results of the Berlin Conference.

The newspaper quoted Saleh as saying that this is just an attempt to modify the deal, after stating that "the fault does not lie in the deal but its application" adding that the decision of Parliament in one of its sessions in Benghazi was to cancel the ratification of the Skhirat deal.

The newspaper said that the agreement was considered as capable of resolving the Libyan crisis if all the points were taken, particularly those linked to security arrangements and the end of militias.

It noted that Morocco had previously criticised the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) for its non-respect for the 2015 deal, and the adoption of selective approach in the implementation of its dispositions, paving the way after five years for a new deal that could be "Skhirat II".

The Moroccan minister of foreign affairs, Nasser Bourita, who met separately with  Saleh and al-Mechri, said that the two legitimate institutions in Libya, the High Council of State and the Libyan Parliament based in Tobruk, are the main actors for any future solution in Libya, adding that they have the potential to agree on a solution, far from "foreign agendas".

Afrigatenews highlighted the issue of the UN envoy in Libya, indicating that the German ambassador to the United Nations, Christoph Heisen, has said that the United States should not prevent the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, from appointing his new representative.

Afrigatenews cited unidentified diplomats who said that Washington wanted to divide the role of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General into two -- one being in charge of chairing the UN mission, known as UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and the other negotiating peace in Libya.

"There are questions which our US partners raised concerning the organization of the UN mission in Libya," Hosgen told journalists on Thursday, adding "we think you can discuss it, but... the United States should not prevent the Secretary-General from appointing a successor for Ghassan Salamé".

About the audit of the Libyan central bank, the al-Wassat said it is time to for proper procedures of an international financial audit of its two branches, as announced on Monday by the Ms Williams.

She called for "the completion of the procedures necessary to launch that audit", one day after the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) said it recorded about US$45.552 million in revenues from crude oil exports for June 2020 in the first quarter this year, the lowest ever.

The idea of an audit of the Libyan central bank began on 10 July 2018 in a letter from the chairman of the presidential council, Fayez al-Sarraj, to the UN Secretary-General.

He urged the United Nations to facilitate an international audit of the two  branches of the Libyan central bank as means to restore the integrity, transparency and confidence in the Libyan financial system. It will also create the conditions necessary for the unification of Libyan financial institutions, said the newspaper which quoted the UN Support Mission in Libya.

On 13 September 2018, UN Security Council resolution 2434 also underlined the need to "facilitate the procedures to begin the process of the required financial audit".

-0- PANA BY/TBM/MSA/MA 2Aug2020