Egypt's Sisi announces Cairo Declaration to end crisis in Libya

Menna Alaa El-Din , Saturday 6 Jun 2020

Sisi’s meeting with eastern-based leaders comes under Cairo’s “unwavering keenness to achieve stability in Libya,” Egyptian Presidency Spokesman Bassam Rady said

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (centre), commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar (right), and Libya's parliament speaker Aguila Saleh (left) during the press conference in Cairo on Saturday 6 June (photo courtesy of Egyptian Presidency Spokesman)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, and Libya's parliament speaker Aguila Saleh have announced a new joint political initiative aimed at ending the conflict in Libya.

In a press conference in Cairo, El-Sisi announced the initiative following a tripartite meeting with Haftar and Saleh.

The initiative, dubbed the Cairo Declaration, mandates a Libyan-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict under resolutions by the UN and past efforts in Paris, Rome, Abu Dhabi, and most recently in Berlin.

The Cairo plan comes after the collapse of an offensive launched by Haftar in April 2019 to capture the Libyan capital, further extending the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) control of most of northwest Libya.

Egypt, the UAE and Russia are backing Haftar, while Turkey has been supporting the GNA.

The initiative stipulates a ceasefire should start 6 am (4 GMT) 8 June, with an adherence to all international initiatives and Security Council resolutions on the unity and territorial integrity of Libyan lands. 

It also stipulates the continuation of talks by the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission in Geneva sponsored by the UN, and obliges all foreign parties to “remove all foreign mercenaries nationwide, the dismantling of militias, and the handover of weapons to allow the LNA to cooperate with other security apparatuses to carry out their military duty.”

It also stipulates resolving the crisis through ensuring a fair representation for Libya’s three provinces through a presidential council elected by the nation under a UN supervision for governance in the country for the first time in the country’s history.

It would also see a starting point to unify Libyan institutions to allow them to carry out their duties and ensure a fair and transparent distribution of Libyan resources to all citizens.

The initiative also sees the adoption of a constitutional declaration that governs the upcoming period politically.

Key points on 18-month transitional period

Tripoli, Cyrenaic and Fezzan shall form an electoral college with members selected from representatives of the provinces in the parliament and High Council of State and tribal elders.

The provinces shall be tasked with selecting their representative for the presidential council and a deputy prime minister to form a presidential council comprising of a president and two deputies.

The presidential council shall after naming a prime minister who will carry duties with deputies, form a government and present it to the presidential council ahead of a referral to the House of Representatives for a vote of confidence.

Every province shall receive a proportionate number of ministerial portfolios depending on capita after a consensus is reached on the members of the new presidential council and the appointment of the prime minister.

Per the initiative, Tripoli would receive four ministerial portfolios, Cyrenaic and Fezzan each holding seven and five portfolios respectively.

The six sovereign ministries would be split between the three provinces equally, with each province holding two sovereign ministries with the appointment of two deputies from the other provinces.

The House of Representatives shall be tasked with adopting constitutional declaration amendments through a legislative committee formed by parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.

The committee, which would include representatives from the House of Representatives and State, would agree on the needed amendments in the declaration for a period not exceeding 30 days from the beginning of the committee’s work.

The electoral college selected by each province under UN supervision shall form a committee comprising national figures and constitutional experts to draft a new constitution for the country and put it to referendum.

The committee shall execute duties within 90 days of its formation after the parliament’s approval.

Per the initiative, the transitional period is set at 18 months, to be expanded to no more than six additional months if needed.

‘Libyan crisis not limited to Libya alone’

“These two leaders have shown during meetings in the past days their desire to enforce the Libyan people’s wish for stability,” El-Sisi said, describing both Haftar and Saleh as leaders who have shown ‘responsibility and patriotism’.

El-Sisi stressed on the gravity of the current situation in Libya, especially with the crisis’ repercussions not being limited to Libya, but spreading to neighboring countries as well.

He warned against some actors on the Libyan scene pursuing any military action in the war-torn country.

“What worries us is actions by some actors on the scene despite efforts to find an appropriate solution for the crisis,” El-Sisi said.

Speaking in Cairo during the press conference, Haftar said the continued Turkish supply of arms and mercenaries to the “unconstitutional” GNA would increase the state of polarisation.

“We stress our support and agreement for this initiative, hoping to garner international support to push Libya to safety,” he said.

“Turkey wants to besiege Egypt and Libya,” Haftar said, calling on El-Sisi to exert more efforts to oblige Turkey to stop sending arms and mercenaries to Libya.

From his part, Saleh stressed that the LNA was “purging the country from terrorist and armed groups,” adding that Turkey sent 10,000 fighters and mercenaries from Syria and Turkey during its intervention.

“This initiative complies with what the Libyan people are accustomed to and with the Libyan constitution and governance in the transitional period, which I hope is not prolonged,” he said.

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