Bouznika talks on Libya to resume Tuesday
BOUZNIKA –Rival Libyan factions will resume their dialogue in the Moroccan resort town of Bouznika Tuesday in an attempt to resolve their country’s political and military crisis.
The second round of talks between the High Council of State and east-based parliament were supposed to be held on Sunday but were pushed to Tuesday due to disputes over the agenda, Moroccan sources said.
Other sources close to the Libyan parliament indicated that the postponement was due to a disagreement over the composition of the participating delegations.
The talks in Bouznika are scheduled to focus on reaching a final agreement between the Libyan parties on the seven sovereign positions in the country.
The meeting will also seek to reach a clear agenda that paves the way for the upcoming Geneva talks next October.
Participants hope that the talks will yield an agreement on uniting Libyan eastern and western state institutions – a move that will be followed by the formation of a government of experts and the restructuring of the Presidential Council.
The talks, will culminate in the signing of an agreement over the first round of talks in Bouznika that concluded earlier this month, are also expected to tackle the security and military arrangements for the strategic city of Sirte.
Many observers believe that Government of National Accord (GNA) chief, Fayez al-Sarraj’s decision to step down from his post in October will help the negotiations in Morocco.
Separately, Egyptian and Libyan sources said that Egypt hosted, UN-sponsored preliminary talks between the Libyan National Army and GNA.
The meeting at the resort town of Hurghada was aimed at paving the way for the resumption of the Geneva dialogue between the warring parties as part of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission.
Despite the optimism of Egyptian authorities that a breakthrough can be achieved, Libyan sources accused Turkey of attempting to undermine the negotiations by pressuring the GNA to commit to its demand for the military to pull out of Sirte and al-Jufra and transform them into arms-free zones.
The LNA, meanwhile, refuses the participation of GNA forces in securing the “oil crescent” region.
Earlier in September, differences between Turkey and the GNA surfaced after the representatives of Libya’s competing administrations held the first round of talks in Bouznika, Morocco.
The compromise reached there provided for the creation of a collegial leadership to be composed of a president, two deputy presidents and an independent prime minister.
All stakeholders in the Libyan crisis welcomed the outcome of the Bouznika meeting. Turkey, however, seemed unenthusiastic because such a formula would make the task of realising Ankara’s objectives in the country more difficult as one of the parties represented in the Presidential Council would be the one that it was fighting until recently.
The key interest of Turkey’s involvement in Libya’s conflict revolves around a memorandum of understanding on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea that could complicate Ankara’s disputes over energy exploration with other countries.
This memorandum has yet to be ratified by the Libyan parliament and there are two bad potential scenarios for Turkey here: One is the possibility of the Libyan parliament voting down the ratification; the second is the possibility of the partition of the country.
In such a situation, the eastern shores of Libya would be controlled by a state hostile to Turkey and the parliament of this new eastern state would probably refuse to demarcate the maritime borders with Turkey. This would mean the collapse of Ankara’s ambitions in Libya.