A decisive step in Libya towards a government of national unity. Tripoli executive decided to “cease its executive, ministerial, presidential functions to put an end to the bloodsheds and divisions in the country.” Power is left to Al Sarraj’s team, supported by the United Nations. The Tobruk question still needs to be solved: it has rejected UN sanctions against Aguila Saleh, President of the Assembly who has not given the green light to the Sarraj government yet. And the government of Abdullah al-Thinni, appointed from Tobruk, continues to build walls with the Ministry of Justice, which has branded the activity of the Presidential Council as “illegal”.
Meanwhile, the race for reopening embassies in Tripoli has begun. Tunisia announces the restoration of its seat, whereas Paris wants to do it “as soon as possible.” In the match for the return of the representatives of the international community to the Libyan capital there is also Italy, which aims at being among the first Western countries to get back there. “There has been a true step forward in the Libyan question, Sarraj’s government is a very promising start, but we proceed with caution. We hope their work is going to be as inclusive as possible,” Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said. Italy is at the forefront to solve the Libyan crisis. Hoisting the Italian flag above its embassy in Tripoli would have great political significance.
Yesterday, UN special envoy Martin Kobler flew to the capital to meet Prime Minister-Designate Fayez al Sarraj and “discuss how to move forward”. Meanwhile in Tripoli – even before the ‘rebels’ gave the news – consent for a unity government was growing also among the population. “I came to Tripoli as a visitor, but I want to be here as a resident,” the envoy wrote. After meeting Al Sarraj and the members of the presidential council at the base where they established their headquarters, he granted himself a tour in the old town. “Tripoli has to be the city of peace in this region,” the German diplomat stressed.
In the last few days, Al Sarraj obtained also the consent of the municipalities of the major cities in the Western side of Libya, the consent of the State oil company (NOC) and that of the Central Bank. In the capital, graffiti that read “Yes to unity government” are flourishing after the triumphal reception accorded to Al Sarraj last Friday in Martyrs’ Square (former Gaddafi’s Green Square). They have also resurfaced the police officers, disappeared in the hours of fiery proclamations opposing last week. RECEP Special envoy Tayyip Erdogan – big supporter of NCG – had arrived to mediate with the hawks. Yesterday, he met President of the Congress Nuri Abu Sahmain and the members of the Presidential Council. On the negotiation table there were some amendments – five of them – to the Skhirat agreement. The latter is supposed to be modified upon the suggestion of the Libyan mufti Al-Sadiq Al-Gharyani in order to obtain the ‘yes’ of the extremists. It is obvious that the pressure of the international community is becoming more insistent.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi argued that now the international community has to find a joint position and that supporting the creation of a government of national unity and the Libyan army are an essential requisite to establish security and order. This statement is not an actual overt endorsement to Al Sarraj yet, but it shows that also Egypt – General Khalifa Haftar’s first and most important supporter – seems to have change the route in the last few hours towards the line wanted by the Western governments and endorsed by the Conference of Rome, which was held last December.