Will Libya’s Presidential Council Peace Initiative Resolve the Crisis?

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the Head of Libya's Presidential Council Mohamed Al-Mnifi
the Head of Libya's Presidential Council Mohamed Al-Mnifi

The Libyan Presidential Council (PC) has recently launched a new initiative, which aims to resolve the decade-long crisis. This comes after all previous attempts have failed to reach a suitable agreement between the warring parties.

According to the initiative, the PC called for holding a “constitutional dialogue” as a priority, aimed at ending the transitional stages and resolving the conflict.

Libya’s transitional stages have failed to realistically create a suitable solution for all parties. Previous attempts have resulted in a resurgence of violence, after short bouts of peace.

The current initiative was launched under the slogan “The Presidential Council’s approach to overcoming the political deadlock, and achieving national consensus.” Like all other initiatives, this carries a slogan that heralds an imminent solution to the crisis. However, implementing the initiative remains difficult.

As Mohamed Al-Mnifi was selected as the Head of PC in 2021, he was quickly marginalized, assuming an honorary position with no authority. The sole ruler of the Libyan arena is the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba.

In addition, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which selected both parties, was reportedly marred by corruption and suspected bribery.

Dbaiba and Al-Mnifi, like their predecessors, have implicated Libya in illegal international agreements and failed to provide proper services to the Libyan people.

In December 2015, the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), signed in Skhirat, Morocco aimed at resolving the Libyan crisis. But what did this deal result in?

The outcomes of the agreement stipulated non-interference in Libya’s internal affairs. In reality, blatant interference by the UN Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) and regional powers grew, and continues to this day.

The agreement also provided for exclusive state control over arms, but militias took up arms in the name of the state. Several notorious militias leaders have been legitimized and absorbed into the state security apparatus after the GNU sought their help.

It repeatedly mentioned the word “commitment” not “obligatory,” in reference to a commitment to evacuate residential areas from all military groups. Yet this was tantamount to allowing these militias to reposition themselves in these areas, rather than dissolving them.

The Skhirat Agreement led to an overlapping of tasks, as the Head of the Presidential Council became the Prime Minister, despite having different positions and mandates.

This gave the former Prime Minister, Fayez Al-Sarraj the authority to sign agreements with foreign countries, which is the path followed by his successor, Dbaiba.

This agreement also allowed the Head of the Government, and Presidential Council to remain in office until his death or resignation. This negates the transitional nature of the government and only served in prolonging the crisis.