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UN envoy to Libya proposes peace initiative – Sources | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Asharq Al-Awsat has received information that UN envoy to Libya, Abdul Elah al-Khatib, has put forward a proposal to end the crisis in Libya that began more than three months ago, and which has seen pro-Gaddafi troops locked in a fierce battle with anti-Gaddafi rebels. This proposal is based on the establishment of a 5-man transitional presidential council that will manage Libya’s affairs during a transitional period that does not exceed 18 months. However the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council [NTC] has announced that it will reject this proposal if it does not explicitly include a provision of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi comprehensively stepping down from power.

Sources within both the Gaddafi regime and the NTC informed Asharq Al-Awsat that al-Khatib’s proposed 5-man transitional presidential council will be made up of two eastern Libyan representatives, and two western Libyan representatives. The Gaddafi regime would choose the western Libyan representatives, whilst the NTC would choose the two eastern Libyan representatives. As for the final and indeed deciding seat on the council, al-Khatib’s proposal is for this seat to be chosen by the 4 afore-mentioned representatives. This 5th representative would be made the President of the transitional presidential council, and would be responsible for leading the country during the transitional post-Gaddafi phase.

According to sources, the establishment of this 5-man transitional presidential council would be preceded by the declaration of a ceasefire, and the introduction of Arab and international observers on the ground. This ceasefire would facilitate humanitarian aid and assistance reaching all affected areas of Libya. In addition to this, al-Khatib’s proposal also includes the lifting of the flight ban and naval blockade imposed on Gaddafi-controlled western Libya.

The UN envoy to Libya’s proposal would also include the dissolution of the rebel NTC upon Gaddafi handing over power to the 5-man transitional presidential council. Al-Khatib’s plan would also see Gaddafi stepping down as commander-in-chief of the Libyan armed forces, and the dissolution of the General People’s Congress (Libyan parliament) and all other legislative bodies associated with it, in addition to the dissolution of all Libyan Revolutionary Committees, which have served as the backbone of Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya project since 1977. This would result in the proposed transitional presidential council being the sole legitimate authority in Libya.

According to sources, the members of the Libyan transitional presidential council would meet in Cairo or Tunis, to develop guidelines for the post-Gaddafi era, and agree on the details regarding what will happen to Colonel Gaddafi and his family following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime. The source also stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that UN envoy to Libya Abdul Elah al-Khatib’s plan does not include the possibility of Colonel Gaddafi, or any members of his immediate family – namely his children or nephews – playing any role in the transitional presidential council, nor would they have any influence with regards to who represents Gaddafi-held western Libya.

The same source also revealed that western allies and NATO has accepted al-Khatib’s proposal, and that Gaddafi loyalist and Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi recently visited Cairo to meet with an NTC delegation in order to discuss this proposal; however the NTC delegation failed to attend the meeting. Al-Obeidi also failed to meet with his newly-appointed Egyptian counterpart, and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby.

NTC representative Abdul-Moneim al-Houni told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the NTC has reservations about al-Khatib’s proposal as a whole, as it does not include a provision for Gaddafi to officially, explicitly, and unequivocally renounce power and his political and military position in the existing regime.”

Al-Houni added that the NTC is open to any proposed so long as this includes the proviso guaranteeing that Gaddafi and his family step down from power.

Al-Houni also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the NTC has presented a list to the Gaddafi regime of African countries prepared to accept Gaddafi and his family under international protection, along with guarantees that Gaddafi will not be legally prosecuted or pursued, whether by Libyan or international bodies, in a reference to the International Criminal Court [ICC] which recently issued arrest warrants for Colonel Gaddafi and a number of his senior officials.

UN envoy to Libya Abdul Elah al-Khatib visited Libyan rebels in Benghazi on Monday, where he stressed that he was looking for a “political process” that will end the Libyan civil war, particularly as the NATO-led alliance’s mandate for military action expires on 27 September.