On Thursday, Martin Kobler, UN special envoy for Libyan crisis, was in Tripoli, for a political meeting with Serraij (Presidency Council-PC) and State Council President Abdulrahman Sewehli. Kobler has also met some deputies of HoR (House of Representatives) who are now in Tripoli. Kobler told that organization of a meeting between HoR and State Council is the main priority. He told at the end of meetings “Libya will rise again”.
The UN Special envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, is to be replaced by former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in a decision by the new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In his final report to the Council yesterday, Kobler said: “The citizens of Libya deserve security and an end to the rampant crime and lawlessness.” While at times optimistic about Libya’s economic situation, he insisted corruption remained, health services were inadequate and poor financial management continued. The new special envoy, US-educated Salam Fayyad, was Palestinian finance minister from 2002 to 2005 and Palestinian prime minister from 2007 to 2013. His background is in finance, having previously worked for both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and is regarded as having been a successful finance minister. Seen as both a conciliator and a pragmatist, he will, however, have his work cut out for him in trying to implement a Libyan Political Agreement that is widely seen as broken and unimplementable.
Eunavfor Med is ready for the operational phase B2. The war against the traffickers in the Mediterranean will be fought in Libyan territorial waters, «but many political and legal challenges must be solved before we can recommend this transition», says Admiral Enrico Credendino, head of the European mission. Critical issues depends on the failure of the executive of national unity, without which the United Nations can’t authorize the arrest of traffickers and the destruction of the means directly on the ground. On 7 October 2015, the European Parliament announced the strengthening of military missions in the Mediterranean, aiming to board, search and seizure the boats used by the smugglers. While the December signing in Morocco between some members of the Libyan social and political life for the formation of an executive of national unity turned out to be illusory, the head of mission of the United Nations Support (Unsmil), Martin Kobler, has welcomed the release of the establishment of the national unity government approved by the majority of the Libyan Parliament. But this announcement is not official. Waiting for a political stability that averts the threat of Daesh and legitimate EuNavFor Med to a local remedial action aimed to stop the migratory hemorrhage destabilizing Europe, the mission remains temporarily “suspended” at the stage 2, that of the war against smugglers within 12 miles nautical from the Libyan coast. Although the international community supports the prime minister Fayez Al Sarraj, received in Italy by Matteo Renzi, the situation becomes critical. France, America and Britain could intervene with future air strikes against Isis bases in Libya, favored by the current institutional chaos. The Foreign Italian Minister Paolo Gentiloni reiterates the urgency of the national government, and focuses on joint fight against terrorism. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pierferdinando Casini, shares the same opinion, and declares that «The attack on 7 January in Zlitan against a police training center is part of the Islamic State strategy to postpone the settlement of the national unity executive agreed between the parties and the UN». Without a government internationally recognized, Eunavfor Med is designed to stall. The command of the mission, however, suggests a future move to Stage 3, with operations even on the coast, in collaboration with the Libyan forces. The identification of objectives is necessary, to solve the intelligence gap on the smugglers’ business model. According Credendino, «When the stage 2B and 3 will start, other missions will be sponsored by the international community. Therefore the activities of EuNavFor Med and other operations should be coordinated in order to mitigate the risk of fratricide. The European operation’s mandate should be extended for the formation and training of the Libyan coast guard». The third step, which has not yet received the EU green light, would actually be the most effective, because the majority of the smugglers operate in Libyan waters. But as the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni affirms, «The UN Security Council can’t authorize an intervention without an express Libyan request». As for the results actually achieved, the mission has contributed to the arrest of 46 traffickers and to the destruction of 67 boats. 14 European countries are participating in EuNavFor Med: Italy, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Slovenia, Greece, Luxembourg, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden. Currently, six European warships are engaged offshore Libya: an Italian one, an English one, a French one, a Spanish one and two German, but other ships should be made available from England, Belgium and Slovenia. Four helicopters, many drones and 1300 military will be added to these. The costs of military intervention – apart from an annually European contribution of 12 million Euros – are supported by the individual participating countries. Italy has contributed to the mission with a budget of 26 million euro and 1.020 soldiers.
Almost a month after the end of Bernardino Leon’s role, GNC announced that it reached an initial agreement with Tobruk to lead a national unity government and elections. The draft, signed in Tunis on November 6, includes the creation of a committee of ten, equally shared between Tripoli and Tobruk, which will elect the new prime minister and two vice presidents.
A deal which, although out of the UN draft of last October, was positively received by the UN envoy Martin Kobler and Italy. Indeed, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that his country “is ready to do its part.”
Since the first international conference on Libya in Rome on December 13, Italy will try to have a leading role in this crucial context, supported by the United States, but also by Russia, which, through its Foreign Minister Lavrov, said that Moscow “is ready to help Italy in Libya.”
As in Vienna after Paris attacks and raid on Raqqa, even this summit in Rome is very important. In addition to terror threat in Europe, an Iranian news agency reported that caliph al Baghdadi moved from Turkey to Libya last October. So, after French military reaction in Syria, now Italy and EU have to define what to do in Libya. Daesh is located almost 300 kilometres from Italian coast.