Heavy international pressure seen behind Sarraj’s resignation in Libya

Ankara’s relations with Tripoli could definitely be seriously affected by the resignation, if it ever comes to pass.

The resignation of the head of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, took the Libyans by surprise, even though several leaks in the press about a week ago should have prepared them for it.

The move constituted a surprise because not long ago before that, Sarraj was involved in a power struggle with his Minister of the Interior and his rival Fathi Bashagha, who was leading an indirect incitement campaign against him by encouraging Libyans to take to the streets and protest against rampant corruption.

While some view Sarraj’s resignation as a procedural step to pave the way for the next government of national unity, others see it as reflecting the failure of his attempts to prevent his being excluded from the scene, especially when Bashagha was reinstated in his post of Minister of the Interior.

Despite the cautious welcome given to this step, there was still divergent opinions in Libya about its seriousness and about its implications. There were also serious questions raised about the fate of the controversial agreements Sarraj had signed with Turkey.

Many believe that Sarraj’s resignation was brought about by strong US pressure with the purpose of appeasing international parties disturbed by the agreements he signed with Turkey, especially the maritime border demarcation agreement that angered the Europeans in general and France and Greece in particular.

Oliver Owcza, Germany’s ambassador to Libya, hastened to welcome the step. “President Sarraj’s decision deserves respect, given that the transfer of power represents a challenge to any country,” he wrote on Twitter.

Over the past few months, there were reports about France’s intention to present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to withdraw the legitimacy of the GNA.

Statements by Amari Zayed, a member of the Libyan Presidential Council and a former leader in the Libyan Fighting Group and affiliated with the extremist movement known for its great loyalty to Turkey, confirm reports about Turkey’s concern over Sarraj’s resignation.

“The legitimacy that is relied upon is not linked to any person, regardless of his position, but rather to a political agreement that was the best in existence,” Zayed told the press, noting that this legitimacy was strengthened by the “revolutionaries” (referring to the militias) who had taken over the Presidential Council to preserve “the goals of the revolution,” and that these “revolutionaries” have the right to participate in the political decision and that nobody will be allowed to marginalise them.

Fayez al-Sarraj had announced on Wednesday evening, in a videotaped speech addressed to the Libyan people, his intention to formally resign from the presidency of the GNA at the end of next October. This remarkable development did not seem to be isolated from the equally sudden announcement only four days ago of the resignation of the parallel government in eastern Libya headed by Abdullah al-Thinni.

“I announce to everyone my sincere desire to hand over my duties to the next executive authority no later than next October, hoping that the Libyan Dialogue Committee will have completed its work by then, selected a new presidential council and chosen a head of government to whom to hand over the duties, according to the outcomes of the Berlin Conference that were approved by the UN Security Council,” Sarraj said in his speech.

Some observers went as far as to say that Sarraj wanted with this speech to pave the way for his exit from the Libyan scene with the least damage, yet Libyan parliamentarian, Ziad Daghim, did not hesitate to welcome Sarraj’s commitment to step down at the end of next month.

Daghim told The Arab Weekly by phone that Sarraj’s decision “is worthy of respect as it shows a consideration for the supreme public interest, and we should not also forget his other recent important national decisions, including declaring a ceasefire and refraining from escalating the war.”

He further considered the decision “a serious step by which he (Sarraj) dropped the ball in the others’ court, and it must be met with openness, and all of al-Sarraj’s sources of concern, if any, must be addressed.”

The mood was different, however, among the Islamists. Saad al-Jazwi, a member of the Libyan Advisory Council affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, was sceptical about Sarraj’s decision and tied it to external diktats. He considered Sarraj’s intended resignation “not the result of the terrible mismanagement conditions prevailing in the country during the past years, but rather came in line with the international project for Libya.”

Speaking this past Wednesday night on the Libya Panorama TV channel, Jawzi said that Sarraj’s televised speech “came as a result of international diktats that want to push Libya into another transitional stage.”

“We expected Sarraj to put in place practical measures for real remedies to the sufferings of the Libyan citizens, but instead he placed us in the international context by declaring that he will leave them (the practical measures) to the government that will be established through the dialogue committee, without adding anything new about the suffering of the Libyan people,” he added.

Most political interpretations of this particular development were almost all unanimous that Sarraj was subjected to strong pressures related to international arrangements being prepared in several Western capitals, especially in Washington, for a quick settlement in Libya through reshaping the political scene before the coming US elections.

Such interpretations stemmed from American reports of about a week ago confirming Sarraj’s intention to announce his resignation soon, in coordination with Turkey, which is still controlling the balance of power between the political forces in western Libya, although all indications confirm that Ankara’s relations with Tripoli will definitely be seriously affected by this resignation if it ever comes to pass.

Source: https://thearabweekly.com/heavy-international-pressure-seen-behind-sarrajs-resignation-libya

UN welcomes Libyan Prime Minister’s decision to step down

The United Nations welcomes the decision by Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister to step down by the end of October, a UN statement released Thursday said.

The Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, Fayez al-Sarraj, announced his decision in a televised speech on Wednesday.
“I declare my sincere desire to hand over my duties to the next executive authority no later than the end of October,” al-Sarraj said, citing “internal and external conspiracies” and other obstacles to the effectiveness of his government.
Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Stephanie Williams commended the decision in a statement, saying it “comes at a decisive turning point in Libya’s longstanding crisis when it is clear that the situation is no longer sustainable.”
“The onus is now on concerned Libyan parties to fully shoulder their responsibilities before the Libyan people, to take historic decisions, and to accept mutual concessions for the sake of their country,” Williams said.
Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/17/middleeast/fayez-al-sarraj-libya-quit-intl/index.html

Asharq Al-Awsat: French Carrier Spots Turkish Frigate Escorting Delivery of Armored Vehicles to Tripoli

France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier this week spotted a Turkish frigate escorting a cargo ship delivering armored vehicles to the Libyan capital Tripoli in defiance of a UN embargo, a French military source said.

The cargo ship Bana docked in Tripoli port on Wednesday, said the source, who asked not to be named.

The armored vehicles were apparently intended for the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Libya’s warring parties are led by Libyan National Army (LNA) chief Khalifa Haftar and Sarraj.

UN special representative for Libya Ghassan Salame accused foreign actors Thursday of continuing to meddle in Libya’s conflict, in violation of commitments made at the Berlin Conference this month.

Speaking before the UN Security Council, Salame warned that “these maneuvers to resupply the two parties threaten to precipitate a new and much more dangerous conflagration.”

“They violate the spirit and the letter of the Berlin Conference,” Salame said in an impassioned briefing in front of the 15-member council.

“I urge the parties and their foreign sponsors to desist from reckless actions and instead renew their expressed commitment to work towards a ceasefire,” he added.

World leaders committed to ending all foreign interference and to uphold a weapons embargo to help end Libya’s war during the conference in the German capital on January 19.

Military Police Managed to Capture 17 Illegal Migrants In Eastern Libya

The Military Police of Al-Wahat district in Libya’s northeast has succeeded to seized 17 undocumented migrants of Sudanese nationality coming from the border triangle between Libya, Egypt and Sudan.

The Directorate of Military Police and Prisons announced on late Tuesday that the capture of Sudanese migrants became possible after the office of local military intelligence reported on two vehicles with people on board were moving from the southern region.

“The migrants were arrested in cooperation with the investigation and arrest office belonging to Awjilat town’s Police,” said the military police.

It confirmed that the security organs stay in touch with each other on a permanent basis in the district of Al-Wahat to contribute the public order and combat all kinds of negative phenomena, including illegal immigration exploited by foreign criminal groups as well as local ones operating on the southern border of the country.

 

Over 150 Libyan Media Activists Addressed Collective Note to Libyan Unity Government to Stop Violations Against Journalists

Over 150 journalists and reporters in more than 20 media organizations presented a collective note to the Prime Minister of Libyan government, stressing the need of putting an end to the attacks on journalists and ensure their safety. Continue reading “Over 150 Libyan Media Activists Addressed Collective Note to Libyan Unity Government to Stop Violations Against Journalists”

Former Head of Sabratha Security Council Detained on Criminal Charges

Former Head of Sabratha Military Council Taher Al-Gharabli has been arrested on Thursday night, the Anti-ISIS Ops Room in Sabratha confirmed.

The Security Ops Room of Sabratha, formerly known as Anti-IS Ops Room, announced that its fighters at the Dahman checkpoint, south of the city, captured Al-Gharabli and immediately hand over him to the unit’s headquarters.

According to a statement released by the unit, Taher Al-Gharabli who allegedly has a strong connection to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group has been accused of a number of criminal cases.

“He is supposed to be transferred to the military prison in the neighboring city of Sorman,” statement reads, adding that “members of the Ops Room treated Al-Gharabli well in accordance with the law without exposing him to any violations or ill-treatment.”

Yesterday, some local media reported that an armed group kidnapped the Brigadier General Tahir Al-Gharabli while he was taking his son to school.

Libya To Extradite The Brother of Manchester Bomber Before Year-End

The brother of Manchester bomber Salman Abeidi will be extradited to the UK by the end of this year, head of UN-backed Libyan government Fayez Sarraj said.

Hashem Abeidi was arrested in the capital Tripoli shortly after the Manchester arena bombing in 2017 that killed 22 people. After which, he admitted to supporting his brother to gather all the components of a bomb and assemble it.  As the UK accused Hashem of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion.

Al-Sarraj stressed in an interview to the BBC that Libya was “fully cooperating” with the British authorities and denied that Libya had delayed Abedi’s extradition.

“Sometimes it takes a long time, even in other countries,” Sarraj told the BBC. “We cooperate fully because we understand the suffering of the families of the victims of this terrorist attack,” he added. “We are working together with the British Embassy.”

In November last year, Britain issued an arrest warrant against Hashem Abeidi on charges of colluding with his brother Salman who blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 killed and many injured, among them children.

A legal dispute over Hashim’s nationality has delayed his deportation to Britain as he held double nationality – British and Libyan. And it was not clear whether he will be tried in Britain or Libya.