What's In Blue

Posted Thu 14 Jan 2016

Libya: Briefing on the Implementation of the Peace Agreement

Tomorrow (15 January), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Martin Kobler will brief Council members by video teleconference under “any other business” on challenges to the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the security situation in Libya. Kobler’s briefing, which Russia requested, will give Council members an update on the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat, Morocco, on 17 December 2015 by participants in the political dialogue, including from the House of Representatives and the General National Congress (GNC), as well as Libyan political parties, civil society, municipalities and women’s groups. The Agreement provided for the formation of a Government of National Accord within 30 days of the signing. The Council welcomed the signing of the Agreement through the adoption of resolution 2259 on 23 December 2015.

Council members will be interested in knowing more about the steps taken to form such a government, and Kobler’s assessment of the prospects for it happening before the 17 January deadline, given the opposition of key decision-makers within both parliaments. More specifically, Council members might wish to inquire about the opposition of the speakers of the House and the GNC to the Agreement. Although recent statements may indicate a softening of positions, neither parliament has yet voted on the Agreement.

The issue of broadening support to the Agreement may also be covered in the briefing. Since early December 2015, some parliamentarians from both the House and GNC opposed to the Political Agreement have tried to give momentum to a parallel negotiation track not facilitated by the UN. The Council received a letter on 23 December from Speakers Aguila Saleh Gouider (House) and Nouri Ali Abu-Sahmain (GNC) complaining that UNSMIL had gone ahead with the signing ceremony in Skhirat without considering their inputs to the political process. There are differing views within the Council on whether UN sanctions on those opposing the Agreement can help its implementation. For example, Russia and China have opposed sanctions in the past. Russia insisted that a reference to the Speakers’ 23 December letter be included in resolution 2259.

The security situation in Libya is expected to feature prominently in the discussions, given the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), including the 4 January takeover of the town of Ben Jawad, in Libya’s Oil Crescent. Council members might also discuss the kind of international engagement the Council could support against terrorist groups like ISIS in Libya once the government is sworn in. On 8 January, the Council condemned a terrorist attack on a security training centre in Zliten, resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries, as well as the recent attacks on Libya’s oil infrastructure by ISIS and its affiliates. The interim security arrangements provided for by the Agreement are also expected to be discussed by Council members, mainly as they would enable the newly formed government to sit in Tripoli.