By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 13 September 2015:
After a marathon negotiating session of the Libya Dialogue in Skhirat between teams from the . . .[restrict]House of Representatives (HoR) and the General National Congress (GNC), UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon has called on the former and other members of the Dialogue to agree amendments to the main text of the Draft demanded by the GNC.
In an overnight statement he said that there were “no big changes” and were “not very important” but that they needed to be accepted to save the deal.
The changes relate to the GNC’s nine demands (below) which in effect would give it and its present members a continuing role in decision-making in Libya. They boil down to the State Council being given additional powers and that all its 120 members be drawn from the GNC as currently exists.
The Draft had to that 90 of its members would be taken from GNC members elected in July 2012. A large number have given up, accepting that the HoR is the legitimate parliament, and have been replaced by supporters of the GNC, mainly Islamists and mainly coopted by existing members.
The HoR has insisted there can be no change to the text of the agreement, as had UNSMIL until now and the indpendent delegates. Last week, HoR president Ageela Salah Gwaider sent a letter to Leon saying that if any amendments were made, the HoR team would pull of the talks.
In his statement, Leon admitted that the agreement might not be approved by both sides, but issued a strong appeal to the HoR to accept the changes, asking them to respond with generosity for the sake of the country. “This is not an easy decision,” he said.
However, the move has angered many of the delegates. “Leon is giving the GNC everything it wants”, one told the Libya Herald.
Leon is trying to counter this. “This is not one side taking everything”, he has said. “This is a win-win solution, and I think that really there is a good level of compromise from both sides and I insist, my plea, my call for the Libyans, for all of them, all those who signed on July 12 is that they are generous and they accept that this [change] is necessary to bring everybody on board.”
The GNC team has taken Leon’s proposals about incorporating the GNC demands to Tripoli for approval by the rest of their colleagues. It is far from certain at this point, however, that even if the HoR team agree to the changes other members in Torbuk will.
Meanwhile in a statement of support to Leon, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that although there had been “important progress” in the negotiations, it was now urgent they reach a “swift conclusion and close the deal”.
GNC proposed amendments to the Draft:
- All institutions stipulated in the Agreement shall receive their legitimacy from it [the Agreement] based on a constitutional amendment, provided that no subsequent constitutional amendments are carried out unless with the agreement of the State Council and House of Representatives.
- Stipulate that the Supreme Commander of the Army (Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers according to the draft Agreement) shall re-appoint new military and security commands concurrently with the formation of the Government.
- Stipulate clearly in this Agreement a mechanism for the selection of the Prime Minister and his two deputies.
- Stipulate explicitly that members of the State Council are only the members of the GNC who enjoy sound membership on the day of the signing of this Agreement, through a list endorsed by the Presidency of the General National Congress.
- Stipulate that the review, appointment and dismissal of occupants of sovereign posts shall not be carried out unless with the consensus of the Supreme Council of State and House of Representatives via voting with a majority to be agreed and stipulated clearly in this Agreement.
- State explicitly that procedures for the vote of confidence and the vote of no confidence shall not be valid unless with the consensus of the Supreme Council of State and the House of Representatives through voting with a majority to be agreed and stipulated clearly in this Agreement. Where a minister is dismissed by the Prime Minister and his two deputies, he shall be replaced via the same method through which he was dismissed.
- Exclude all military personnel involved in coups, who declared their rebellion against the political process as manifested in the Constitutional Declaration.
- All contents of the Political Agreement on commitment to the principles of international legality, international human rights law and international humanitarian law as well as decisions of the International Criminal Court and the pertinent United Nations Security Council resolutions shall not contradict with the current Libyan legislations.
- Final signature on the Political Agreement shall be after the GNC votes on and endorses it.