Panafrican News Agency

Libyan newspaper highlights impact of 5+5 Military Commission tensions on Libya's political process

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The recent jolts that have shaken the 5+5 Joint Military Commission in the wake of the political tug-of-war, with representatives from the east under the leadership of the Libyan National Army chief, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, threatening an oil blockade were the major issues reported by the Libyan newspaper, Al-Wasat.

The paper also highlighted the suspension of air and land links with the west, which has created apprehension among Libyans fearing a return to the dark days of confrontation, and efforts by the United Nations to defuse the tense situation.

Under the headline: "5+5 paving stone stirs stagnant water in political track", Al-Wasat pointed out that the entry of the Joint Military Commission into the cycle of "political wrangling" has raised concerns about dark scenarios that the UN is seeking to defuse, alongside attempts to restore communication between the House of Representatives (Parliament) and the High State Council to resolve controversial issues regarding the constitutional track.

Since the representatives of the eastern-based General Command of the Libyan National Army in the 5+5 Military Commission pulled out on 9 April in protest against the policies of the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity, Abdelhamid al-Dbaiba, Libyan streets have remained in a state of suspense, fearing that the developments could lead to economic, political and security repercussions.

The paper reported that the most dangerous of the repercussions is the country's return to the pre-ceasefire phase, against the backdrop of the threat to halt oil exports and close the land route linking the western and eastern regions.

This will undermine the work of the 5+5 Commission, says the newspaper, a weekly published in Cairo, Egypt.

The statement came at a time when a state of stagnation is dominating the political path to resolving the Libyan crisis, the newspaper recalled.

It assured that this situation could stir stagnant "water in its path", while the UN Support Mission in Libya, through its acting head, Raiedon Zenenga, anticipated any direction to implement on the ground what was indicated in statements made by Haftar's supporters.

The newspaper said "to do this, Zenega travelled to the eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday, where he met with the five members representing Haftar's forces to listen to them on the reasons for pulling out of the commission.

Their response, according to the newspaper, was that their position is motivated by several reasons, including the suspension by al-Dbaiba's government of the salaries of soldiers and other sectors in the east four months ago.

They also expressed concern about the current situation and its consequences on the living conditions of citizens. To this, Zenenga replied that there is the need for the government to take action.

He said efforts should be made to avoid escalation and asked the members of the Military Commission to continue to cooperate with the UN, including by facilitating the work of the Ceasefire Monitoring Unit in Sirte.

Mr. al-Dbaiba again defended his position, ignoring, according to the newspaper, the withdrawal of the pro-Haftar delegation from the joint commission.

Libya has been in a political stalemate since the postponement of the 24 December elections, compounded by the emergence of two rival governments, that of Prime Minister Abdelhamid al-Dbaiba and that of the Fathi Bachagha.

The members of the Military Commission for the East have asked to stay away from the political rivalries, the newspaper reported, adding that they have, however, in a separate meeting, informed the deputy chairman of the Presidential Council, Abdallah al-Lafi, in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the army, "of the need to find radical solutions to the problem of paying the salaries of all army personnel".

It noted that anything short of the work of the commission will jeopardize the successes that have been achieved.

The Joint Military Commission, which includes 5 members of the military institution in Western Libya and 5 representatives of the General Command under Haftar, represents the most important consensual structure that has been stable for almost 19 months,

It has also been able to achieve several breakthroughs in the security sector, with the exception of the unification of the army, the newspaper recalls.

In the absence of any indication of the end of the transitional stages in Libya with the shock of the House of Representatives' roadmap extending to 2023, the national unity government's commitment to hand over power only to an elected body, the paper said, indicates that the wrangling will continue until after June, when the UN-sponsored roadmap ends, by which time al-Dbaiba has proposed to take over the government.

Al-Dbaiba has proposed holding elections, while the UN Mission believes that the only solution to the crisis will be to go to the elections as soon as possible.

A plan, called "Restoring Confidence to the People", initiated by al-Dbaiba, proposes elections and a referendum on the draft constitution next June, in line with the roadmap of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.

The newspaper cites, with regard to the UN crisis exit proposal, the meetings currently taking place in Cairo, under the auspices of the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General, Stephanie Williams, with the participation of 24 members of the House of Representatives and the Council of State, to consult on the definition of a consensual constitutional basis and resolve legal disputes, which will continue until next Tuesday.

-0- PANA BY/JSG/BBA/VAO 16April2022