Apr 18-25 Breakthrough Rome meeting reinvigorates LPA

Apr 25, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 21 April, a breakthrough meeting was held between Ageelah Saleh, the president of the House of Representatives (HoR), and Abdurrahman Swehli, head of the High Council of State (HCS). The meeting was hosted in Rome by Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and attended by Italy’s ambassador to Libya, Giuseppe Perrone. The meeting was a result of intensive regional diplomacy by Tunisia, Algeria and Italy.

In particular, Abdel Kader Msahhel, the Algerian Minister for Maghreb, Arab and African affairs, visited all the main factions in Libya last week in an attempt to find common ground between the factions regarding the stalled UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Msahhel met with Fayez al-Serraj, prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), his deputy PM Ahmed Metig, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, Swehli, Saleh and key players from Misrata, and Zintan. Insiders say that Msahhel’s proposal envisages the four key players — Serraj, Swehli, Saleh and Haftar — working together as part of a reconciled council.

On 24 April, the HoR issued a resolution nominating 24 members to the UN-facilitated Political Dialogue Committee, which is supposed to finalise amendments to the LPA before it formally becomes part of Libyan law. The HoR had previously failed to agree on its delegates and then voted to withdraw entirely from the process following the escalation of conflict in the Oil Crescent in early March.

Fighting between militias aligned with the GNA and militias aligned with Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) are ongoing around Teminhint airbase in southern Libya. An initiative to end the fighting launched by the GNA’s minister of local government has so far failed to gain traction. The LNA’s siege and shelling of Teminhint airbase continued on 23 April, after a brief lull in fighting last week. The Misratan-led Third Force, who are currently besieged in Teminhint airbase, continue to refuse LNA demands that they withdraw from the base, saying they won’t leave without an order from the GNA to do so.

On 24 April, LNA fighter jets conducted airstrikes on the ‘Daoki’ camp, where Third Force and Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB) units are reportedly based. The site, also known as the Security Committee Camp, was also used as a detention centre. A number of fighters and inmates were reportedly killed in the strike. Safwan al-Gneidi, the commander of the GNA’s Third Force who was critically injured following an LNA airstrike on his convoy near Sebha on 16 April, died from his wounds in Tunisia last week.