By Sami Zaptia.
London, 24 July 2018:
Presidency Council members for Libya’s eastern region (Barqa/Cyrenaica) Fathi Majbri and Ali Gatrani, yesterday announced the withdrawal of their region from the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
The LPA, signed in December 2015 in the Moroccan city of Skhirat, is the only internationally recognized political road map for Libya. It was hammered out after the 2014 Tripoli militia coup caused a split in Libya. The LPA was seen as an interim compromise ‘‘Government of National Accord’’ until Libya’s constitution was agreed, and full elections were held.
In yesterday’s televised announcement and in their joint written statement, Gatrani and Majbri said that in light of the political scene, the (political) blockage now taking place and the domination and control of militias in the capital Tripoli, ‘‘we affirm that the province of Barqa (Cyrenaica) is now outside the (Libyan) Political Agreement”.
The two then invited members of the House of Representatives representing the eastern region, tribal elders, civil society institutions and activists to meet next Thursday (26 July) in Benghazi to make decisions regarding the Political Agreement and the rights of “the region of Barqa”.
The emergency regional meeting, the statement said, will be devoted to discussing the latest developments in the political scene, the withdrawal of Barqa from the Presidential Council, and the benefits and positions that should to be taken, both nationally and regionally.
The move comes on the back of Majbri announcing the suspension of his membership from the Tripoli-based Presidency Council and Government of National Accord on 18 July. Gatrani had already withdrawn from the PC/GNA.
Majbri’s suspension, in turn, came on the back of an armed attack by unknown militias on his Tripoli home at the end of June. Majbri had complained that the Faiez Serraj Tripoli-based Presidency Council and its designated Government of National Accord was unwilling or unable to investigate the militias that had attacked his Tripoli home. He claimed Tripoli was dominated by a ”militia cartel” and that security sector reform of the militias – as prescribed by the LPA – was not being seriously implemented by the Tripoli regime.
The announcement by Gatrani and Majbri could have serious implications on the political future of Libya. The LPA is seen as the only political framework for Libya by the international community. It was brokered by the UN and is backed by a UN Security Council resolution.
The LPA is also recognized by the May Paris Agreement in which all the conflicting parties agreed on approving the draft constitution and on holding elections in December 2018. A withdrawal by the two main PC/GNA members for the east from the LPA would undermine this plan and make elections in 2018 – which were becoming even more unlikely by the day – even more less likely now.