Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Intense international movement on impact of Libyan crisis: Is consensus coming soon?

Sunday 22/January/2023 - 03:08 PM
The Reference
Mustafa Kamel

An intense international movement has been taking place in the Libyan arena, especially after the recent agreement announced by the heads of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State, which is considered an important breakthrough in the political stalemate that has overwhelmed the country, representing a new hope and opportunity for the possibility of reaching a comprehensive settlement and holding elections to establish a unified authority in the country.

The recent developments in Libya reflect the continuation of the differences between the parties, despite the recent consensus between House Speaker Aguila Saleh and High Council of State Chairman Khaled al-Mishri during their meeting in Cairo in an attempt to end the ongoing dispute and bring the country to safety.


Hypotheses of failure and success

House Speaker Aguila Saleh announced that there is almost convergence on reconsidering the government and forming a new, neutral government to supervise the elections, considering that it is not reasonable for the presidential candidate to be responsible for appointing election officials and employees, referring to the head of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdel Hamid Dabaiba.

After the controversy over the creation of a Supreme Constitutional Court in Benghazi and the suspension of dialogue between the House of Representatives and the High Council of State, the resumption of dialogue between the two parties was announced in a promising step. Its features became clearer with the announcement of the Cairo Agreement, which deepened hopes for an upcoming settlement. However, recent developments have raised questions about the extent of the impact of disagreements again, especially since many agreements have already failed despite their promising beginning.

In a new indication of the continuation of the differences, Saleh affirmed that the House of Representatives is the only legislative body and the High Council of State is the only advisory body, describing the agreement reached with the High Council of State as merely a “verbal rapprochement” without actions, accusing the High Council of State of not dealing with the House of Representatives.


Suffocating political crisis

Since the beginning of last year, Libya has been experiencing a suffocating political crisis, represented in a struggle over power between the two governments, the first assigned by the House of Representatives headed by Fathi Bashagha, and the second the outgoing GNU headed by Abdel Hamid Dabaiba, who refuses to hand over power. The conflict between the two governments represents a new impasse in the country, which has been experiencing a crisis for years.

To resolve the crisis, the United Nations launched an initiative to form a committee of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to agree on a constitutional basis that would lead the country to elections, the completion of which stalled in late 2021, while international forces and the UN pressed for reaching consensus to hold elections. UN Envoy to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily threatened to resort to alternative mechanisms in the event of the two bodies failing to reach a consensus.


American move

Within the framework of the international moves to push for a political settlement in Libya in light of the recent consensus, the United States entered the crisis line, as CIA Director William Burns arrived in Libya on a visit, the first of its kind by an American diplomat, during which he met with the Commander-in-Chief of the National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, at his headquarters in Al-Rajma outside the city of Benghazi in the east of the country. Burns then moved to the western region to meet with Dabaiba in Tripoli. He stressed the need to develop economic and security cooperation between the two countries and praised the state of stability and growth that Libya is witnessing, as the Libyan file has become a priority for the US administration, which seeks to take advantage of the recent agreements to put pressure on the Libyan parties to end the crisis.

For their part, European countries declared their support for the Libyan consensus. Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said during a joint press conference held in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, “We want to achieve stability, and we will work together because we are convinced of the necessity of conducting elections,” pointing out that stability also means reducing irregular migration flows and that Italy supports all those initiatives aimed at reaching elections, according to the Italian news agency AGI.

France had earlier announced its support for the invitation of the UN envoy to Libya to the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to put the final touches on the constitutional rule. The French embassy posted on its Twitter account that it supports reaching a Libyan-Libyan solution to resolve the political crisis and conduct elections within a specified timeframe.