The western international community has reiterated its continued support for the UN’s embattled Government of National Accord, (GNA) in Tripoli following the first day of crisis talks in London.
In a public statement, British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson termed the UN backed GNA, “the sole legitimate government of Libya”. Continuing, “It is now imperative that the GNA makes swift progress on delivering public services: electricity in homes and cash in banks, for the benefit of all Libyans.” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.”The ministers also called upon all Libyan economic institutions to work together in support of this effort.”
No statement has yet been issued outlining what action, if any, has been agreed upon beyond the affirmation of support.
The UN appointed GNA has so far failed to make any significant inroads into improving the lives of the 1.2 million, residents of Libya’ s capital, where it has spent much of its time since being delivered there seven months ago. Currently, the dearth of foreign currency reserves has reduced cash flow within the city to a trickle and power-cuts remain a fixture of daily life for residents. Threatening to exacerbate matters still further was the recent rift between the UN appointed Prime Minister, Farez Serraj and Central Bank governor Saddek Elkaber. over who precisely was to blame for the current crises.
Further weakening the authority of the UN backed government was the October 14th coup, which saw the self declared, National Salvation government seize control of the capital’s Rixos Hotel during one of the UN backed government’s sojourns in Tunis. Despite various calls for the plotters’ arrest, and the condemnation of many of those assembled in London yesterday, the National Salvation government retains control of the Rixos.
Eroding the position of the UN backed government still further has been the remarkable gains made by its eastern rival who, under the controversial leadership of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, took control of much of the country’s key oil ports and has since doubled exports, essentially gifting the eastern government in Tobruk control over much of the country’s oil industry. No representative of the Tobruk parliament had been invited to the meeting in London.
Strengthening Tobruk’s hand still further are recent reports of a hitherto undisclosed United Arab Emirates (UAE) forward operating base in eastern Libya, from where it is said to be operating AT-802 light attack aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in support of Tobruk’s military, Janes have confirmed.
Disappointments at home and in the oil fields of the east notwithstanding, the UN backed GNA does at least appear to be close to succeeding in one of its key aims; that of removing the Islamic State, (Daesh) from their stronghold in Sirte. Following an incredibly bloody seven months of fighting, the UN aligned force, Bunyan Marsous, led by the Misratan militia and supported by the US Air force and a coalition of special forces on the ground finally appear to be within grasp of routing Daesh from their last remaining significant stronghold in Libya.
Prior to joining Tunisia Live, Simon worked as a freelance journalist. He has lived in Tunisia since 2013 and previously worked in Vietnam and Moscow.