Panafrican News Agency

Libyans resolved to overcome pitfalls in making peace (Analysis)

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The slow pace and difficulties of the political process due to the obstacles, stalemates, twists and turns and other enormous challenges in Libya are turning the road to peace into a tortuous and bumpy road, stretching a political and military conflict of nearly a decade, fuelled and exacerbated by constant foreign interference that brings it back to the starting point every time an outcome seems close or looms on the horizon.

The sessions of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum held last November in Tunisia were a boost, the culmination of a surge of determination and political will that has animated Libyans, both parties to the conflict and foreign countries involved in Libyan affairs, although with some nuances.

The result of a series of events that began in August with the informal proclamation of a ceasefire and the proposal of elections by the Chairman of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, and his proposal to resign in order to hand over power to a new authority, as well as the resumption of the oil sector with the lifting of the blockade in September and the ceasefire agreement in October in Geneva, this momentum has injected a new dynamic and hopes for a rapid peace. 

The rapid success achieved by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis through the adoption in less than a week of a roadmap, the determination of a preliminary transition period and the setting of the date of December 24 for the organization of presidential and legislative elections, augured well for a final outcome to the Libyan political crisis.

But the differences that prevailed among members of the Political Dialogue Forum in determining the criteria and mechanisms for choosing candidates for the unified executive authority, composed of a Chairman of the Presidential Council with a President and two Vice-Presidents and a Prime Minister from a government of national accord, led to a new impasse that continues and wastes a lot of time moving to a new phase in the search for a constitutional basis for the organization of general elections.

In this regard, the disappointments encountered in the implementation of the ceasefire agreement must also be added to the delays in the implementation of the ceasefire agreement, in particular the delay in the withdrawal of the line of contact of the forces to their barracks and the departure of foreign mercenary fighters.

In this regard, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has requested the member countries of the Security Council to deploy international observers to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire.

This situation creates the impression that the process of resolving the crisis in Libya is still stalled, while the risks of collapse are real and can, with the slightest provocation, wipe out all the progress and gains achieved so far.

Indeed, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which must finalize the resolution of the crisis through a consensus between the parties to the conflict, is stumbling over the issue of the mechanism for selecting candidates for the executive authority in charge of managing the transition and supervising the organization of elections.

The Libyan political activist, Wanes Slah Belaïd affirmed that "the current process is engaged in a point of no return since it is doomed to succeed in bringing the country out of this state of crisis in which it is plunged since 2011", stressing that "the parties to the conflict are aware of the need to reach a solution, because the Libyans can no longer bear any more as the country is in a difficult social, political and economic situation".

Mr Belaïd stressed, in a statement to PANA, that "the delay and problems that arise are quite natural in a political process given the complexity of the Libyan issue and its international dimension with the involvement of third countries," considering that "to overcome the difficulties that arise in the talks requires time and concessions since each party wants to prevail its vision and draw towards its interests first before reaching compromises and overcome obstacles".

He recalled that "the conflict in Libya has lasted long enough and that it has shaken the trust between Libyans, breaking the social fabric and disrupting the hierarchies and the established order because of insecurity, violence and the use of force of firearms", adding that "to remedy this requires patience, wisdom and above all a great patriotic spirit giving priority to the common good at the expense of self-interest".

Yacoub Abdessalm Al-Houni, a Libyan university professor stressed "the need to put into perspective the problems that have arisen or the delays in finalizing the process", assuring that the deadlines are still within the norms and that we are only at the beginning of the political talks despite the urgency that is felt".

According to him, "certainly the Political Dialogue Forum has made a flying start by achieving progress in a short time in Tunisia. But this should not hide the fact that the real problems that are controversial and which are the essential points had not been addressed, namely the occupants of positions of responsibility and the criteria for choice, as well as the constitutional basis for the organization of elections".

He recalled that "the UN Envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams has found tools to overcome the obstacles that arise with the formation of two committees of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, one advisory committee to resolve differences and make proposals for the mechanisms for choosing the unified executive authority, which is to meet next week in Geneva to refine the choices made at its second virtual meeting", pointing out that "the other committee is legal and has the task of looking into the search for a legal basis for the organization of the elections".

M. Al-Houni recalled that "the political, economic and military process is progressing and making steady progress" citing "the exchange of prisoners within the framework of the Joint Military Commission 5+5 which is the second operation of its kind between the government of national accord and the Haftar forces, as well as the last meeting of the Technical Group of Economic Monitoring which brought together the various Libyan economic and financial institutions from both East and West of the country to unify the budget and the management of oil resources after unifying the exchange rate of the dinar".

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Stephanie Williams, is making significant efforts to overcome the problems that arise and bring the views of the members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum closer, stressing that the ultimate goal is to achieve the organization of elections.

Although she reiterated the importance of a strong executive authority to oversee the elections and manage the transition, Stephanie Williams implicitly states that without the formation of this authority it will not affect the ultimate goal of the presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24.

She urged the Libyans to seize the opportunity of the international community's interest and support for the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum to reach a solution as soon as possible.

While the effects of foreign interference are having an impact on the progress of the process and the ongoing talks, Libyans are determined to take ownership of the Forum to ensure that the settlement is Libyan-Libyan, following Stephanie Williams' warning last week about the possibility of imposing a solution from abroad.

In this context, a number of members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum called on all Libyan democratic civil forces to form and support a "national settlement for a comprehensive solution" that will bring the country out of its crisis resulting from international and regional interventions and the end of the state of division.

In a statement, 21 members of the Political Dialogue Committee said that the formation of the National Consultative Committee is in support of the Dialogue Forum and its evaluation within the framework of national constants and controls, as well as communication with various political forces and entities to reach a consensual solution that allows the positive and active participation of all components of the people of the same nation, to distance themselves from personal interests to the detriment of the homeland and not to cling or bet on specific names, as some try to pass them through coalitions led by a particular group.

The members of the Dialogue Committee stressed that the "National Consultation Committee for a Comprehensive Solution preserves the Libyan ownership of the political dialogue (...) and in the supreme national interest and rejection of foreign hegemony and agendas, far from the policy of exclusion, marginalization and appropriation, as well as for the purpose of achieving transparency in decision-making".

They indicated that the National Consultative Committee will work with the UN Support Mission in Libya in the framework of support and consultation only, in accordance with the decision to create the UN Mission in Libya.

Thus, Libyans are aware of the importance of reaching a political settlement to preserve the unity, sovereignty and independence of their country that is threatened by divisions and foreign interference, according to analysts who assure that the political dialogue conducted under the auspices of the United Nations will eventually bear fruit and bring a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Libya.

In fact, the geostrategic changes that have recently taken place in the world and the region with the certification of the victory of U.S. President Joe Biden and the reconciliation between member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are factors that can bring positive repercussions on stability and peace in Libya.
-0- PANA BY/IS/MTA/VAO 8Jan2021