Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar has rebuffed several UN and international initiatives aimed at resolving the conflict in Libya.
Now, after suffering military defeats in Libya’s western region against the internationally recognized Tripoli-based government, Haftar has called for a cease-fire and a political solution to the conflict.
Below are nine significant agreements and understandings for resolving the Libyan crisis that were rejected by the putschist general since 2015.
Skhirat agreement: Dec. 17, 2015
The UN-brokered talks brought together delegations from Haftar’s Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) and the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC). They agreed to form a presidential council that will lead a government of national accord and a higher state council (parliamentary advisory) composed of members of the GNC, in addition to extending the mandate of the HoR after its expiry in the same year.
Although this agreement was under the auspices of the United Nations and approved by HoR and received unprecedented popular support from most of the Libyan parties, Haftar strongly opposed it because it gives the Presidential Council the power to sack him.
Haftar incited the deputies loyal to him, headed by HoR Speaker Aquila Saleh, to disrupt the implementation of the agreement, by creating chaos in the parliament to prevent the ratification and approval of the Government of National Accord (GNA).
Then he pressured members of the Presidential Council to withdraw with a view to disrupting its work. However, Haftar and Saleh failed to withdraw international recognition from the GNA.
Paris meeting: July 25, 2017
French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the biggest supporters of Haftar, hosted Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Haftar. They agreed on a cease-fire and implementation of the Skhirat agreement. The French initiative stated that elections would be held in the spring of 2018.
Paris conference: May 29, 2018
After the failure of holding elections in the spring of 2018, as stipulated in the Paris meeting, the French president held a new international conference at the Elysee Palace with the four main parties to the Libyan crisis, namely: Al-Sarraj, Haftar, President of the Supreme Council of State Khalid Al-Mishri, and Aquila Saleh.
Representatives from 20 countries, including Turkey, Algeria, Qatar and Tunisia, in addition to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, participated in the conference.
It was agreed to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec.10, 2018 and to lay the constitutional foundations for the elections and to adopt the necessary electoral laws by September 16, 2018.
But pro-Haftar MPs procrastinated and tried to derail the political, legal and constitutional track, and set impossible conditions to block holding elections.
Palermo Conference: Nov. 12-13, 2018
Rome responded to Paris conference by holding a conference in which al-Sarraj and Haftar participated under the auspices of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
The conference was attended by delegations from 38 countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Russia, US and Algeria, during which it was agreed to hold elections in the spring of 2019.
Abu Dhabi meeting: Feb. 27, 2019
Al-Sarraj and Haftar met under the auspices of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the largest supporter of putschist general. The meeting had no significant outcome nor was any agreement signed. The UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) only announced that an agreement had been reached to end the transitional phase in Libya through holding general elections, without providing details or dates for the polls.
However, local and international media talked about the two parties discussing the possibility of establishing a mini “National Security Council”, in which the powers are divided between Haftar and al-Sarraj. Such reports were never confirmed or denied by officials.
The meeting took place at a time when Haftar’s militias were controlling all major cities and towns in the southern Fezzan region, without strong resistance from the forces loyal to the government.
Ghadames conference: April 14, 2019
The UN was counting on this conference to end the Libyan crisis, as part of a road-map put forward by former UN envoy Ghassan Salameh that aimed at amending the Skhirat agreement and holding a conference between only the Libyans before elections.
During this stage, the constitutional declaration was amended at the parliamentary level and electoral laws were discussed, even though the meetings of the deputies did not reach a quorum at the time. The Elections Commission also began preparing the lists of candidates.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, went to Libya on April 4, 2019, to support the chances for success of the conference. But Haftar took advantage of these political atmospheres to surprisingly attack the capital Tripoli and thus ruined UN and international efforts to end the crisis.
Moscow meeting: Jan. 13, 2020
A Turkish-Russian initiative succeeded in convincing the Libyan parties to cease fire on Jan. 12. Separate meetings were held, which included both Haftar and Aguila Saleh on one hand, and al-Sarraj and Al-Mashri on the other hand, under the auspices of Turkish Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A permanent cease-fire agreement was to be signed, but Haftar fled to Benghazi, without signing the agreement.
Berlin Conference: Jan. 19, 2020
Organized by Germany in coordination with the UN, the conference was attended by 11 countries, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Turkey, Italy, Algeria, Egypt and the UAE, in addition to the UN, EU, the African Union and the Arab League.
Haftar and al-Sarraj also attended the conference, but they did not meet. Haftar did not sign the final statement, which included a cease-fire. Additionally, his militia shelled the Libyan capital just one day after the conference.
5+5 Military Committee talks: Geneva, February 2020
The talks kicked off on Feb. 18 in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of the UN, in which five officers from the legitimate government and five Haftar military men took part for talks on three tracks: military, political and economic.
But the legitimate government suspended its participation in the talks on Feb. 19 after Haftar’s militias bombed the port of Tripoli for the first time since the beginning of its aggression against the capital, in violation of the declared cease-fire between them.
In the face of his repeated rejection of peaceful solutions and disavowing of any understandings, the legitimate government announced several times its absolute refusal to engage in any talks with Haftar or to let him play any role in the future of Libya.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat.
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