Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Libya’s Skhirat Agreement Hits Second Year Mark as Stances Change

Libya’s Skhirat Agreement Hits Second Year Mark as Stances Change

Sunday, 17 December, 2017 - 09:00
Representatives of Tripoli-based and Tobruk-based governments in a news conference after signing the agreement, December 2015 [Reuters]

Libya’s Skhirat agreement witnessed over the last two years a number of amendments and a surge in support.

Signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 and under United Nations sponsorship, the Skhirat agreement went from what some considered a political ‘joke’ to having gained considerable support.

Others who said that the agreement was tailored to the Muslim Brotherhood’s taste now also show leniency towards negotiating within its framework.

After continued talks throughout the remainder of 2015, a peace agreement between the two factions was signed on December 17 in Skhirat, Morocco. The agreement created a Presidential Council and the High Council of State and established the Government of National Accord.

Despite bipartisan support of the agreement, both factions also had members who did not support the deal and it was feared that well-armed militias would not comply to deal. After an endorsement by the United Nations Security Council, the GNA was almost immediately recognized by the international community as Libya’s legitimate government.

Observers believe that the House of Representatives, which is based in Tobruk (east of Libya) and headed by Aguila Saleh Issa, was the main source of objection to the Skhirat agreement.

Aguila Saleh recently said that the political agreement was not a "holy book" and could be amended, and all decisions issued by the presidential council were considered "invalid".

"The political agreement remains the only practical framework for managing the political process in Libya, and there is no specific date for its expiry," said Abdul Rahman al-Suhaili, head of the Supreme Council of the State.

In turn, member of the House of Representatives, Saleh Abdulkarim, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the agreement’s standing is still the same as it was two years ago, when signed.

He added that the agreement “is the legitimate framework of the so-called Presidential Council and the GNA-- we deal with the latter as a de facto authority, the same case it is with militias.”

GNA member Mousa Faraj, who also chairs Skhirat amendment dialogue committee, said there was no article in the political agreement that would end it on December 17, 2017.

Faraj added that the statement of the UN Security Council indicates its adherence to the agreement as a general and only present framework for reaching a political solution in Libya.

He stressed that the agreement stands valid “until elections are held in accordance with a permanent constitution that brings the transitional period to an end.”

Editor Picks