Libya’s Presidency Council is relocating from Tunis to Skhirat Morocco, following reports in recent days they had been asked to leave by Tunisian officials for ‘security reasons’.
The move to Skhirat comes as the head of Presidency Council, and Prime Minister Designate, Faiez Serraj is attempting to put together a second proposed list of ministers for the Government of National Accord.
The internationally recognized House of Representatives in Tobruk rejected the Presidency Council’s first proposed list on the grounds that it contained more ministers than had been agreed to in the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat. When it rejected the proposed government the House of Representatives requested a second proposed government within ten days, that deadline expires midweek on February 4.
The Libya Herald is reporting today that Presidency Council member Mohammed Ammari has already walked out over the meeting with Haftar. Two of the nine members of the Presidency Council had walked out during the negotiations which had led to the rejected first list of cabinet ministers. Highlighting the divisions within the Presidency Council one had left over Haftar’s exclusion, while the other reportedly left over the size of the cabinet, they have subsequently rejoined.
On Saturday, January 30, Faiez Serraj met with the politically divisive former Gadhafi era General Khalifa Haftar in the Eastern Libyan city of Al-Marj.
Haftar commands the militia forces which unsuccessfully tried to prevent the ouster of the House of Representatives from Tripoli, in 2014’s ‘Operation Dignity’. In 2014
Islamist militia known as Libya Dawn captured the Libyan capital, sending the House of Representatives into exile in eastern Libya. Libya Dawn then, reestablished the General National Congress and set up the second Libyan government which now controls Tripoli.
Serraj’s meeting with Haftar is likely to further exacerbate divisions within the Presidency Council with contains members of Farj Libya.
Skhirat, Morocco was the site of the signing on December 17, 2015, of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) mediated Libyan Political Agreement, which established the Presidency Council to form a unity Government of National Accord to reconcile Libya’s two rival governments.
UNSMIL, and its head Martin Kolber, maintain their offices in Tunis in light of Libya’s security situation. The move to Skhirat, as international intervention appears increasingly likely further isolates the Presidency Council from Libya’s rival governments.
In December, citing security concerns, Tunisia barred flights originating in Libya from using the Tunis-Carthage International airport requiring Libyan flights to land in Sfax, 165 miles (266 km) from Tunis, instead.
Between the eastern House of Representatives and the western General National Congress lies the city of Sirte where Islamic State has established a centrally located Libyan stronghold.