By Sami Zaptia.
London, 17 June 2019:
Faiez Serraj, head of Libya’s the internationally recognized Presidency Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA) launched a new peace initiative yesterday in an effort to end the fighting on the outskirts of Tripoli with the Khalifa Hafter aligned forces.
The seven-point initiative involves calling for a national gathering, forum or conference representing all Libya – under the auspices of UNSMIL. This gathering will agree a roadmap for elections including agreeing on the rules and laws for holding elections. The international community will support this gathering and its outputs and ensure that these outcomes are adhered to by all.
Together with UNSMIL, a committee will oversee and provide security for all the elections across Libya. the forum will also activate decentralization and reconciliation. The initiative was welcomed by both UNSMIL and the EU. Individual House of Representatives (HoR) members have rejected the initiative, but at the time of writing, there has been no formal response from HoR head Ageela Saleh nor Khalifa Hafter.
It will be recalled that Serraj has made it clear that he will no longer negotiate with Khalifa Hafter and has called on the east to nominate new representatives. He has been meeting with some representatives from the east in an attempt to find or create new interlocutors to replace Hafter and Saleh. It is not clear how legitimate and representatives these new interlocutors will be.
Here is Serraj’s ten-minute speech in full:
‘‘Since the beginning of our work and despite all the challenges and difficult circumstances, the Government of National Accord has always believed that the solution in Libya will come only through dialogue among the people of the nation. It is the only way to get out of the crisis, so we have worked continuously in this direction and we met with most groups and segments of society and encouraged meetings among the Libyans.
We are advocates of peace and consensus. When the aggression (against Tripoli) took place, we did not hesitate to confront it by force, in defence of our people and our capital, and in defence of the civil state desired by all Libyans, whose principles were established by the Revolution of 17 February, and we are confident in the ability of our forces to defeat the aggression and return it to where it came.
This aggression, which is aimed at undermining the democratic process and overturning it, is aimed at authoritarianism and the imposition of totalitarian rule, the rule of the individual and the family. So, we took all the measures to mobilize our national army and our valiant revolutionaries, and victory was our ally thanks to God, and we proved to the world that operation “Volcano of Anger/Rage” is capable of dispelling the illusions of the aggressor. We have repeatedly asserted that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya, although this is clear to all, but the aggressor insists that the war continue. After being deluded by them (his allies usually meant to be Egypt and UAE) that it is a great jihad (akin to the reopening of Mecca).
Everyone bears witness to the fact that we have achieved positive results, both domestically and internationally, in several areas. The security arrangements we have made in the capital, Tripoli, and other cities have contributed significantly to the establishment of security, the absorption of armed formations in police, military and civilian state institutions. And we have defeated IS in Sirte and other regions, thanks to the sacrifices of our heroes, with strategic cooperation with friendly countries and with the international coalition against terrorism. This cooperation is still going on to this day. We will spare no effort to eradicate this scourge despite all the challenges.
In the economic sphere, the recovery process has begun through the reform programme, which is based on the integration and harmonization of monetary, financial and trade policies, rationalization of spending, support for the National Oil Corporation and raising oil production levels to the best rates.
We all know that we were close to holding the National Conference (Multaqa), but the aggressor (Hafter), in flagrant defiance of all, launched a failed attempt to impose a new fait accompli. This was to blow up the will of the Libyans. Thanks to our valiant Army and support force, he and his militias were taught lessons in heroism and fighting. It broke the lie of his claimed of having a professional army (Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA), and his claim that his entry into Tripoli was a picnic that would end in two days. And here he is today, is breaking down and dragging his tail in the defeat.
It is in this context that I tell our people in the beloved East (of Libya) that your history has got us used to your rejection of injustice and tyranny, and you will never be a fuel for sedition among Libyans. This is what this adventurer seeks, and you are innocent of him. The advocates of sedition are trying to market the fighting today as a conflict between the east and the west, or a war on terrorism and extremism, which is pure slander. So, it is time for the silent majority to say its say: enough of killing our youth. And enough consolation funerals. The war will inevitably end with God’s permission, and only remorse will be harvested by those who started it. On this occasion, I extend a tribute of pride to those who came out and defied, and raised the loudest voice against this brutal invasion, despite all the threats and warnings.
From the point of view of my national responsibility, despite brutal aggression against us, which we will continue to defeat and to harness all the capabilities to end and defeat it, today I present our political initiative to emerge from the current crisis, and I call on the Libyan people to gather around it to complete the national struggle and the democratic nation-building project.
Our initiative boils down to the following points:
First: To hold a Libyan national gathering, in coordination with the UN mission, to represents all the national forces and components of the Libyan people from all regions, with political and social influence, who call for a peaceful and a democratic solution, calling for the right of citizenship and building a civil state of the rule of law and institutions.
Second: A roadmap for the next phase would be agreed at this gathering, and the adoption of the appropriate constitutional rule, for holding simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections before the end of 2019. The forum will agree upon a competent legal committee to draft the laws on the agreed commitments.
Third: The forum shall adopt the laws on the constitutional and electoral process submitted by the created Legal Committee, specifying the dates of the elections, and then transmit it to the High Electoral Commission.
Fourthly, the Forum calls on the Security Council and the international community to support this agreement, so that its outputs are binding on al. The United Nations prepares and organizes these constitutional obligations, and the Forum invites the African Union and the European Union to provide the necessary support for its success.
Fifthly, committees are formed, under the auspices of the United Nations, from the current executive and security institutions in all regions, to ensure the availability of the necessary resources for electoral obligations, including the necessary security arrangements for their success.
Sixth: The mechanisms for activating decentralization across the country are agreed upon by the forum, optimizing the use of financial resources, and comprehensive and just development for all regions of Libya, while ensuring the standards of transparency and good governance.
Seventh: A higher commission for national reconciliation would be created by the forum, which oversees and follows up on the national reconciliation and the implementation of transitional justice law, and the general amnesty law, and reparations law – with the exception of those who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.
We, in turn, will work at this remaining stage to raise the efficiency of the government, to keep pace with the nature of future national obligations, particularly in the service, economic and security fields, and to complete the audit of the revenues and expenses of the central bank in Tripoli and Al Beida, agreed with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.
We will continue the security arrangements and our project to build a military and security institution on professional bases and standards, whose mission is to protect the nation and preserve the sovereignty of the state, integrating our brave soldiers and our valiant revolutionaries from all over Libya.
We therefore call on the international community to support this initiative, to be more decisive and resolute against the aggressor (Hafter), and to open an international investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the attack on the capital and other cities of Libya.
I offer a tribute to our armed forces: the army and the supporting forces and our valiant revolutionaries in all the axes, who are writing the greatest heroic epics, and I tell them that the blood of our martyrs will not go in vein. Our just battle continues, and I am a man of peace and accord, and at the same time I will not allow the ambitions and hopes of Libyans to be stolen. I will continue to lead this battle to resist tyranny, and no one can discourage us from continuing our struggle for defeating the aggressor and ending his dictatorial project”.