Panafrican News Agency

Libyan media highlight apprehensions preceding Libyan political talks in Geneva

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - As the Libyan Political Forum under the aegis of the UN in Geneva approaches, Libyan newspapers have taken interest in the apprehensions among Libyans whose feelings are divided between fear and optimism.

The Libyan press this week also echoed the resumption of oil production looking at its effects on agreements between member countries of the OPEC oil cartel. This is against the background of the blockade imposed on oil production as it affects the economy, with crude oil being the main source of state income.

The Al-Wassat newspaper wrote an article under the headline "Confusion and optimism preceding the Geneva meeting", that the delegations of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State returned from Morocco in the hope that their members would vote on the results of the Bouznika dialogue linked to the settlement of the issue of sovereignty positions. Germany has also given the assurance that the formation of a new Libyan government will be resolved within a few weeks.

The weekly published in Cairo, Egypt, said that despite the great challenges of adopting it as a document opening the door to "quotas", the second round of Libyan consultations in Bouznika came as a small step that can pave the way at major stages that require the support of the international community, as a member of the House of Representatives delegation, Idris Omran, said in a speech on behalf of the two delegations.               

The newspaper added that the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, in his inaugural speech at the signing ceremony of the minutes of the Bouznika agreement, estimated that the second round of the Libyan dialogue ended with important agreements that appeared in the minutes of the second round, provided that they return to their institutions for approval.

The demarcation of the agreements in Bouznika, according to the assurances of the two parties, consists in developing Article 15 of the Skhirat agreement in its first paragraph.

This stipulates that the House of Representatives, in consultation with the High Council of State, reach a consensus on the occupants of the leadership positions for the following sovereign positions: Governor of the Central Bank of Libya, Chairman of the Audit Office, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, the head of the Anti-corruption Agency, the chairman of the High Electoral Commission and its members, the president of the Supreme Court and the prosecutor, the newspaper reported.

The dialogue sessions resulted in an agreement to choose Benghazi as the seat of the Administrative Control Authority, the Audit Office is located in Tripoli and the headquarters of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Sebha, according to Al-Wassat newspaper.

The newspaper said that the second paragraph of article 15 of the Skhirat agreement provides for the approval by two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives to appoint persons and/or to dismiss them from managerial and sovereignty positions.

Reporting on international reactions, the newspaper said that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, along with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, stressed the need to respect the arms embargo as a prelude to return to peace negotiations.                   

Mr. Maas said: "We will not break the military impasse as long as the flow of arms and men continues to the warring parties" while the UN Acting Special Envoy to Libya Stephanie Williams said "the arms, equipment and mercenaries continue to flow into Libya from both sides".

The newspaper concluded that Mrs. Williams' statements reflect the ambiguity surrounding the Geneva consultations.

It said when she was asked about the possibility of holding political talks on 15 October in Geneva, she replied that she wanted them "as soon as possible, preferably before the end of the month".

She stressed that the United Nations is currently preparing a series of meetings and consultations to facilitate the resumption of talks with a view to a comprehensive political agreement after the second round of talks in Bouznika, near Rabat.

Diplomatic sources mentioned, according to Al-Wassat, the possibility of transferring the meetings from Geneva to the Tunisian island of Djerba, on the grounds of logistical obstacles, in particular the issue of visas for Libyan delegations.

The Afrigatrenews newspaper echoed the consequences of the closures imposed on oil production sites in Libya.

It quoted the governor of the Central Bank of Libya Al-Siddik Al-Kabir as saying during a session of hearing by members of Parliament meeting in Tripoli that the suspension of oil production during the period 2013-2020 had resulted in losses exceeding 180 billion dollars.                   

The governor of the Central Bank presented the latest developments of the Libyan economy, stressing that the suspension of oil production and exports was the most influencing factor on the economy of the country.

He said oil revenues have fallen from $53.2 billion in 2012 to $4.8 billion in 2016 while currently they are zero in 2020.

Afrigatenews, an electronic newspaper, claimed that Al-Kebir warned that the continued oil shutdown will lead to disaster and an unprecedented depletion of foreign exchange reserves at the Central Bank of Libya, signaling that this would also deal a severe blow to the economy's ability to cope with crises.

Addressing the impact of the resumption of oil production in Libya on the world market, Al-Wassat newspaper claimed that analyses differ with the increase in crude oil production in Libya and Iran on efforts to restore market equilibrium under the OPEC agreement.

The newspaper reported that while analysts point to the seriousness of the increase because it is not included in production quotas, other energy experts say that the increase in Libyan production has not had an effect on the international market.

The newspaper clarified that Libyan oil exports are on the rise at the three ports which reopened last month, as the port of Brega is likely to experience the export of around 1.8 million barrels this month.

The newspaper also cited other energy experts, who confirm that the rise in Libyan production has not further affected the international market due to a workers' strike in Norway, which has caused the shutdown of six oil and gas sites and the evacuation of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, as Tropical Storm Delta heads to the coasts of Louisiana and Florida.

-0- PANA BY/IS/KND/MA 10Oct2020