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Libyan Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: All Parties Needed to Ensure Success of National Conference

Libyan Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: All Parties Needed to Ensure Success of National Conference

Wednesday, 6 February, 2019 - 07:15
Head of the National Forces Alliance Mahmoud Jibril. (AP)
Cairo – Jamal Jawhar
Head of the National Forces Alliance Mahmoud Jibril stressed the need for all influential parties in Libya to attend the National Conference that is being planned by the United Nations.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that this includes the Libyan National Army (LNA), armed groups, tribal elders and supporters of the former regime of late ruler Moammar al-Gaddafi.

The conference, which is being planned for March, must discuss a clear vision for Libya and it “must not be a repeat of the Skhirat agreement” that was signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015.

That “shameful” deal, Jibril said, was signed by then UN envoy Bernardino León and the Libyan parties were “mere spectators at the talks.”

“The agreement only deepened the crisis in Libya. If we compare Libya in December 2015 to Libya in February 2019, then we will realize the reality of the Skhirat deal,” he remarked.

Jibril cited the squandering of public funds and neglect throughout the capital, Tripoli, asking: “Who will be held accountable for these crimes?”

“Leon,” he explained, “believed that Libya was suffering from a political conflict when in reality the dispute was over the country’s financial resources in the absence of a state.”

He hoped that the upcoming National Conference would properly address the problems in Libya.

This demands that all effective parties be represented, he said. This includes the politicians, as well as the LNA, the parties that wield weapons and others that provide them.

“These are the actual forces on the ground,” Jibril stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Followers of Gaddafi’s regime must also be present.

He explained that these figures speak about rebuilding the state, ensuring the peaceful transition of power and making sure that no one is eliminated from representation.

“They must therefore be part of the National Conference,” he stated.

Asked about the forces providing weapons to armed groups, Jibril said: “These parties must be willing to abandon their practices in order to become part of the state-building process. These parties are searching for conditions to lay down weapons and are open to negotiations.”

“Negotiations, however, have never been held with them,” he noted.

“Unfortunately, many leaders of these armed groups have become the de facto powers on the ground. Some are even being welcomed by foreign powers. It is therefore, in the Libyans’ interests to sit at the same table with them,” he went on to say.

“A Libyan state will never see the light as long as armed groups exist outside state authority,” he stressed. “The spread of weapons is a main obstacle.”

As for militia leaders, Jibril said that they too should be included at the dialogue table.

“They have their fears and interests that they want to maintain. Negotiations are inevitably necessary with them. They should be viewed as powers that can help, not obstruct, in building a state.”

Asked whether the presidential council of Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord was one of the effective powers he was speaking about, Jibril remarked: “Did the council have any control over the recent Tripoli clashes? Does it hold sway over the parliament or state council? Absolutely not.”

In January, UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, revealed that the organization is seeking to hold a National Conference for the north African country.

The UN will announce the date and place of the Conference once Libyan representatives agree on "the essential ingredients for a new consensus on a national agenda."

He said only Libyans can plot a way out of the political deadlock in the country, which "has been underpinned by a complex web of narrow interests, a broken legal framework and the pillaging of Libya's great wealth."

“Libyans from across the country, women and men, will gather in one place and decide how the nation should proceed to the end of the transition,” Salame explained.

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