Libya is home to many armed groups that do not stop fighting and movements that exploit the chaotic situation to achieve narrow gains, but, on the other hand, the oil-rich country gathers personalities and civil and tribal figures, who are deploying great efforts to reunite the people and squash political calculations and regional ambitions.
Among those figures is the head of the Libyan Notables Council for Reconciliation, Mohammed Al-Mubasher, who underlines the importance of national reconciliation and equal sharing of power as a prerequisite for forming a permanent government and holding general elections.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Mubasher blamed “many Libyan media outlets” for not serving stability in the country and criticized the government of National Accord, which he said has achieved “limited success in Tripoli, but failed to unite the people under its authority.”
“The National Accord Government, located in Tripoli, is only active in a limited range of the country. Despite its relative success in Tripoli, it has failed to unify the whole country under its authority. Consequently, there is no agreement over it internally. Members of the presidential council have also differences among them,” he stated.
As for the role of the media in the Libyan conflict, Mubasher said: “The media usually contributes to the stability of the country or to the opposite; Libya suffers from the use of political money and different media orientations.” He added that only few channels worked to fulfill the interests of the country.
“We hope the media supports peace in the country… Peace must be a common goal of the local and international media as well,” he stated.
Asked about the mission and role of the Libyan Notables Council for Reconciliation, Mubasher said that the council was concerned with solving disputes.
“Its members include professional mediators and experts in this field, as well as professors in various universities, cities and tribes; it dates back to the era of Ottoman rule, which began in 1551,” he explained.
Since that date, the Council has been carrying out its duties in the country until the revolution of February 17, 2011, when a large number of Libyan personalities called for reviving its role to become a moral authority to compensate for the absence of the state and its bodies, resolve disputes and assist in the building of a just state, according to Mubasher.
“The Council is now calling for the formation of a neutral government, which does not belong to any political movement or disputing party, to guide the country through an interim phase, leading to a permanent state of transparency and justice,” the Council president told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Commenting on the recent initiative by UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame to hold a comprehensive national conference, he stressed that the Council had announced its support to Salame’s plan, “as it comprised thoughts and ideas we have been calling for since the beginning of the crisis.”
“However, we have some comments on Salame’s plan, which we believe requires more clarification with regards to the comprehensive national conference,” he stated.
Asked about his opinion on the ongoing debate over the establishment of a civil or militarized state, Mubasher said: “Honestly, the plan to militarize the state exists, and has its supporters; but I think that this is one of the reasons for the delay of the solution in Libya so far.”
“The Libyan Notables Council for Reconciliation works for the achievement of a civil state, and I tell you that the majority of citizens prefer to integrate the military institution under a civil authority, and the recent statements by [Marshall Khalifa] Haftar fall in this direction; we do not believe that a military project could rule Libya in the future,” he affirmed.
Mubasher emphasized that a political solution to the Libyan crisis should fall within the framework of the Skhirat Agreement, which was signed in 2015, under the auspices of the United Nations.
“The solution has now become a commitment for the Libyans through the United Nations and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions under the political agreement signed in the Moroccan city of Skhirat at the end of December 2015.
"The Libyan Notables Council believes that this is the only framework for resolving the crisis,” he concluded.