By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis and Tripoli, 18 January 2016:
Ali Gatrani’s decision to suspend his position as deputy prime minister is being seen . . .[restrict]as a 48th-hour attempt to sabotage the announcement of the new Government of National Accord due at midnight today.
Gatrani took to television today to explain that from the outset he had agreed to serve in the government of prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj on condition that military and security “were not touched”, that the east obtain a fair share of ministries and that funds be set aside to rebuild Benghazi.
The last two issues are in fact already dealt with in the Libyan Political Agreement.
However under Clause 8 of the Government of National Accord part of the deal, the supreme command of the Libyan armed forces becomes vested in the Presidency Council. This means the role is taken away from Ageela Salah, president of the House of Representatives.
It is seen as significant that Gatrani has recoiled from the LPA only at this last minute. Moreover, during his broadcast he also stressed the need for the rapid formation of the GNA even though his action appears to frustrate that very outcome.
There is a suspicion that Gatrani’s walk-out is an attempt to sabotage the new government for the benefit of the head of the armed forces General Khalifa Hafter to whom he is close.
Various ambassadors, who have been following closely the extended negotiations on the formation of the GNA, have said that they were unsure that some members of the Presidential Council had actually read the LPA document until last week and were now seeking to make changes.
However, it appears that they are not the only ones who have not read it through. The text signed at Skhirat and published today by UNSMIL refers in one of the annexes to the “Prime Minister and his two deputies” while in fact some time before the signing and before the annex was unveiled, this was raised first to three and then to five deputies. [/restrict]