By Sami Zaptia.
London, 3 March 2019:
Nizar Kawan, head of the Political Department and Vice-President of Libya’s (Islamist) Justice and Construction Party (JCP), expressed the satisfaction of his party with the discussions which took place between Faiez Sirraj, head of the Presidential Council and Government of National Accord, and Khalifa Haftar, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday 27 February.
The talks were brokered by Ghassan Salama, the head of UNSMIL.
Kawan also commended the agreement for the need to emerge from the state of crisis, the subordination of the military to civilian authority, the end of political division and the unification of institutions leading to elections.
He also praised the efforts of the United Nations Mission and its head, Ghassan Salame, and his endeavours to bring the various parties closer together in order to broaden the circle of consensus and reach a comprehensive settlement distancing the spectre of conflict.
He also noted the wisdom and flexibility of Faiez Sarraj and his keenness to avoid any blood-spilling and seek peaceful solutions to the crisis.
It will be recalled that Serraj and Hafter met in Abu Dhabi last Wednesday
Pesidency Council and Government of National Accord sources said that Serraj had insisted during the meeting on a civilian Libyan state and the necessity to shorten Libya’s transitional stage and the holding of elections.
UNSMIL reported that both parties agreed during the meeting on the need to end the transitional stages in Libya through holding general elections, and on ways to maintain stability in the country and to unify its institutions.
It is noteworthy that there was no obligatory official photograph or video clip of Serraj and Hafter shaking hands or together in Abu Dhabi. This has raised concerns.
There have been many calls in Libya for Serraj and Hafter to come out and put some details to the Abu Dhabi agreement beyond the now oft used headlines.
Libyans have become weary and suspicious of these meetings and the subsequent statements released afterwards.
Hafter had hitherto resisted submitting to the military leadership of Faiez Serraj in Serraj’s role as the internationally recognized Supreme Commander of the (Tripoli-based) Libyan Army.
This role is enshrined in the 2015 Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
Hence, beyond the headlines, the Abu Dhabi 27 February agreement has raised more questions than provided answers.
With Hafter’s continuing military progress on the ground in the south of Libya, and his open ambition to “liberate” Tripoli, actions and events on the ground will prove more telling than any unclear statements.