Libya Factions Reach Peace Deal Without Tripoli Gov’t

Libya Factions Reach Peace  Deal Without Tripoli Gov’tLibya Factions Reach Peace  Deal Without Tripoli Gov’t

Some of Libya’s warring factions agreed on Saturday on a framework for a peace deal following months of talks in Morocco, the United Nations said.

Representatives of municipal councils and the UN-backed government based in Tobruk initialed a draft deal stipulating a transitional period for the establishment of a democratic state in the country.

But a key player, the General National Congress (GNC), the installed government in Tripoli and its allied Libya Dawn militia, were not part of the agreement, Al Jazeera reported.

Bernardino Leon, the UN envoy for Libya, said the “door is open to all not present” when he announced the draft accord.

“They have also played a critical role in this text. As I have said many times, there is no text that is entirely satisfactory to all parties and that responds to all their demands ... I am confident that in the weeks ahead, a clear decision will be made and will address all sides and issues.”

Al Jazeera’s Menem Elamrani, reporting from Skhirat, where the talks were being held, described the agreement as “an important step forward but not a final deal.”

“The GNC representative was reluctant over the wording. But it opens the way for the Libyans to go forward in a new period and puts the burden on the GNC.”

There is hope that a GNC delegation might return to Skhirat for consultations on the final points of the draft deal after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

One of the key issues on which the parties are divided is the status of General Khalifa Haftar. He has been declared the army chief by the Tobruk administration, but GNC wants him removed.

 Disarmament and New Constitution

The UN-brokered deal will provide the rival groups with a framework to live together and begin a transitional period of one year in which they can decide issues including disarmament, control of the country’s airports and writing a constitution.

It is viewed as an important step because the parties who wish to join the next phase of negotiations would be required to abide by the wording of the draft accord.

In a joint statement, 11 nations that were involved in the talks and the European Union congratulated the delegates “who have demonstrated their responsibility, leadership and courage in this crucial moment by initialing this draft agreement.”

“We call on the remaining delegates and all Libyan decision-makers to unite now and to join in supporting this agreement, in the interest of their country and people and in Libya’s common future.”

The role of neighboring countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, was said to be vital to the pact.

 Power Rift

Libya has been divided since the 2011 uprising that toppled former autocrat Muammar Gaddafi, with two opposing governments and parliaments battling to control its cities and oil wealth.

This is while Libya’s oil industry has been badly hit. Strikes, protests and the conflict have closed down several major oilfields as well as ports. Production is less than half the 1.6 million barrels per day the North African state produced before 2011.

Islamic State militants have also exploited the power struggle by increasing their presence in Libya as they did in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. The group has executed dozens of Christians and attacked embassies.

On March 24, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya unveiled a six-point plan to end the crisis, including the formation of a transitional unity government until a new constitution could be adopted and elections held.