By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 17 June 2016:
Jonathan Winer, President Obama’s special envoy to Libya has told Congress that the US State Department is planning to channel an extra $35 million to the Government of National Accord.
This would bring American financial support this year for the administration of prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj to $56 million.
Winer, who has been consistently upbeat about the GNA, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that US strategic interests meant that it had to support a unified and accountable government that met Libya’s economic and security needs.
“At the centre of our policy” said Winer, “has been support for the creation of the GNA as a unifying bridge to help Libyans move beyond the damaging period of political competition”. This bridge was important, he added, while the country adopted a new constitution and a long-term government.
The new money comes on top of $20.5 million already allocated to support the GNA including funds earmarked for the stabilisation fund to be used to repair key infrastructure throughout the country.
Winer warned that unless all factions got behind the GNA and the country began exporting oil at pre-2014 levels, it would be bankrupt within two years.
Senators quizzed him over the strength and ability of the GNA to keep control of any weaponry that would be supplied following a partial lifting of the 2011 UN arms embargo.
Winer explained that the control and use of such arms would be “a shared responsibility” between the countries supplying them and the GNA. He was not asked about and did not provide any details of how such a mechanism would work.