Morocco’s initiative of bringing together the rival Libyan political 5 member-delegations (the High Council of State based in Tripoli – Government of National Accord, GNA, and the Parliament based in Tobruk, Tunisia – Libyan National Army, LNA) in Bouznika for a Monday to Tuesday dialogue, under the UN’s auspices, is meant to continue the path of negotiation towards a solution for the Libyan crisis. According to media outlets, the talks focus on the political and institutional division, seeking to uphold the ceasefire and encourage the delegations to advance towards putting an end to the crisis. However, the dialogue is a mere consultation before the actual dialogue in Geneva.
Morocco’s recent mediation effort affirms the country’s position regarding the Libyan crisis. Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita reiterated the position during the opening speech of the Libyan dialogue. As stated, Morocco’s stance includes three main points. First, Morocco believes the solution to the Libyan crisis must come from Libyans themselves through negotiation, away from any foreign intervention. In addition, the second point is that the solution must be peaceful rather than military. Third, Morocco believes the solution to the Libyan crisis must be primarily political to ensure the legitimacy of any government that would come after elections.
The Libyan dialogue in Bouznika came six weeks after the President of the Libyan High Council of State, Khalid Al Mishri, and the Speaker of the Libyan Parliament, Aguila Issa Saleh, visited Morocco for the first time. The Speaker of Morocco’s House of Representatives, Habib El Malki, invited the rival politicians in July to discuss how they envisage solving the Libyan crisis. After the visit, Al Mishri and Saleh announced their desire to meet in Morocco for dialogue.
There are numerous international reactions to the ongoing talks.
The Arab League praised the objective of the dialogue to push forward inter-Libyan negotiation. In a statement ahead of the Arab foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday, it said it was closely following the Bouznika talks, hoping the solution would solve the challenges facing Libya on the security, political, and economic levels. Also, the League expressed its wishes for the organization of legislative and presidential elections that would mark the end of the Libyan crisis.
In a similar statement, the Tripoli-headquartered Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) said it was following with “particular attention and great satisfaction” the inter-Libyan talks in Bouznika. CEN-SAD shared its hopes that the Libyan dialogue is crowned with an agreement that represents a continuation of the Skhirat Agreement, signed in 2015 in Morocco (the agreement is the only internationally-recognized framework for solving the Libyan crisis. It also allowed the establishment of an interim Libyan government and a ceasefire between the warring parties).
Moreover, the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have welcomed Morocco’s initiative of bringing together rival Libyan political delegations. One week before the Bouznika talks, the Vice-President of the EU Commission, Josep Borrell, made a visit to Libya and met with the leaders of the two rival Libyan parliaments. Borrell’s visit aimed to urge the parties to maintain their current ceasefire.
The Libyan High Council of State and the Parliament of Tobruk signed a ceasefire agreement on August 20th. This declaration represents an important milestone that brings the Libyan crisis closer to a solution.
The Bouznika dialogue also follows the visit of Stephanie Williams, the deputy head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). During her visit to Rabat, Williams thanked Morocco for the “unwavering and continued support” it provided to the UN for a solution to the Libyan crisis. “The Libyans are very happy to know that I am in Morocco because they are aware that the Kingdom has a great history in supporting UN processes,” she emphasized.
In conclusion, as it was previously underlined, the Morocco talks are a prelude for the official negotiations between the rival leaders which are going to be held in Geneva, on September 17th.
According to the website www.english.aawsat.com, the extended Libyan dialogue hosted by Morocco is meant to stop on Wednesday and resume on Thursday. Until the present moment, the talks evolve positively, signaling a breakthrough.
In a joint press conference on Tuesday, after the scarce news of the day’s talks, GNA delegation member Mohamed Khalifa Najm and Tobruk MP Youssef al-Akouri said the political dialogue “is proceeding positively and constructively.” Also, they announced reaching significant understandings on setting clear standards aimed at eliminating corruption and ending the state of political division in the country, without giving further details.