Agreement Provides Framework for Including Absent Tripoli Leadership
The United Nations Special Envoy Bernandino Leon praised Morocco for its support for the negotiations among the various warring parties in Libya to promote the political and military cooperation that has remained elusive since the ouster of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. At the concluding press conference in the Moroccan city of Skhirat, where the talks were held, he said “The Skhirat Agreement was made possible thanks to the contribution of many Libyans who worked within the working groups and other groups, but also thanks to the host country, Morocco, which has played a very important role, which is not only a host role, but also a role of political support.”
Leon was not alone in his praise for Morocco. At the State Department daily press briefing on July 13, Spokesperson John Kirby mentioned that “The United States Government welcomes the July 11th initialing of the final draft political agreement at the UN-led talks in Morocco, which is an important step toward the creation of a government of national accord…We express our deep gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco for its leadership hosting the UN talks and to all of those participating in this process.”
The Skhirat agreement is the beginning of the next phase of negotiations aimed at restoring order to Libya. This is particularly critical in the face of mounting ISIL threats in the country and its continued economic and humanitarian catastrophes, including the influx of thousands of refugees seeking passage to Europe, creating yet another crisis.
As Envoy Leon pointed out, “This is a very important partnership between Morocco and the UN mission, “and that “during the next step, the parties will work on complex aspects, namely the formation of a national unity government, the negotiation of annexes (of the Agreement) and especially the involvement of armed groups, the Libyan army and the militias.”
Despite the agreement, the future remains in doubt. The General National Congress (GNC), based in Tripoli, and its allied Dawa militia were absent from the talks. However, this does not preclude their eventual inclusion, as Leon made clear that “the door is open to all not present. 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.”
US interlocutors and regional powers, including Morocco, are now pressing ahead to bring the GNC into the deal so that the process of beginning a national unity government, writing a constitution, controlling airports and oil facilities, and integration of rival militias can begin in earnest, within the framework of the agreement. Leon concluded his remarks by continuing his plea for more collaborative talks. “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.”