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Libyan Newswire

Libyan political accord 'stands firm, but stuck' – UN envoy tells Security Council

6 December 2016 – Briefing the Security Council just days ahead of the first anniversary of the Libyan Political Agreement, the United Nations envoy for the north African country highlighted that while there has been progress, the deal has stalled and &#8220much more should have happened.&#8221

UN Special Representative Martin Kobler also underscored that in addition to looking at the security situation in the country, the economic dimensions also needed to be kept on the agenda.

&#8220Until today, even the most vociferous critics of the Agreement acknowledge that it is the only workable framework,&#8221 Mr. Kobler told the Council at its meeting on the north African country.

&#8220That said, the Libyan Political Agreement did not fulfil the expectations. The implementation has stalled,&#8221 he added.

Mr. Kobler explained factors such as the limited authority of the Government of National Accord (GNA), the rejection, twice, of the proposed lists of GNA by the Libyan House of Representatives, lack of cooperation between State institutions, &#8220pretender&#8221 governments competing for power, and crime and volatile security situation continued to add to the worries in the country.

To conclude an agreement is difficult, to implement it is even more difficult, as Nelson Mandela said.

Sounding the alarm, he said the country &#8220continues to be awash&#8221 in weapons, and arrivals of new weapons continue unabated, in violation of existing weapons embargo.

&#8220Weapons do not fall from the sky. They come by land or sea,&#8221 he stressed, adding that they sometimes end up in the hands of terrorists throughout the region. As such, he called for strong enforcement of the embargo until Libya has a reliable and coherent security set up.

Of special concern, Mr. Kobler underscored, were violent clashes in Tripoli &#8211 the first since 2014 &#8211 triggered by the killing of a religious scholar, and he noted that such clashes were symptoms of the lack of security and underlying tensions between communities.

He added that despite an increase in oil production, the country remains in a budget deficit of about 70 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and said that the strained relations between the Presidency Council and the Central Bank further complicated the financial situation.

Briefing the UN Security Council, Special Representative Martin Kobler outlines the gains in the fight against terrorism, the challenges faced, as well as the outlook for Libya in 2017. Credit: UN News Centre

&#8220Libya’s financial reserves have shrunk from $108 billion in 2013 to $45 billion. The country will face an economic meltdown unless something changes,&#8221 he stressed, expressing particular concern for the lack of rule of law, rising corruption and high yields on the black market that result in billions of dollars disappearing into illegitimate accounts.

Next steps

In moving ahead, the UN envoy said that while the implementation of the Agreement is challenged, its articles are &#8220not set in stone.&#8221

&#8220The Libyan Political Agreement foresees a mechanism for change, should the political circumstances demand,&#8221 he explained.

He pointed to the need to: tackle outstanding political questions; stop the use of armed groups and instead set up a Presidential Guard (as proposed by the Presidency Council) to protect State institutions and embassies; prioritize economic recovery of Sirte and Benghazi; address the fundamentals of the Libyan economy; promptly act on human rights issues, including the situation of migrants; and the return of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which he heads up, to Tripoli in a phased manner, once the security concerns are mitigated.