Libyan UN-backed government failed, Salame’s new efforts could end political uncertainty

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Tarik M. Yousef is the CEO of Brookings Doha Center [Photo: Wamda]

Libya’s political transition after February was marred by a prolonged period of political fragmentation, violent conflict and economic dislocation, according to the Brookings Doha Center CEO Dr Tarik M. Yousef said.

Yousef added that ordinary Libyan citizens have suffered the consequences of increased insecurity and a deterioration in living standards, claiming that the 2015 SkhiraThe political agreement signed by the UN and supported by the UN, which aimed to unify the country and stabilize its economy, has fallen short of expectations as progress in its implementation has stalled.

“Given the potential relapse into uncertainty and conflict, the new UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salamé, is working to breathe new life into the political agreement through an ambitious action plan which could improve the increasingly negative outlook in the country. ” Yousef explained.

He also added that unlike the run-up to the Skhirat Accord, his current efforts will be limited by the new international political environment affecting Libya. Salame can no longer count on the dedicated support of the international community – the United States, the United Kingdom (UK) and Europe – which had invested heavily in the process and has largely acted and spoken of a single voice between 2014 and 2016.

“At present, the prospects for a renewed US engagement under the Trump administration are dim, the UK is increasingly distracted by Brexit and other major European countries are either engaged in a competition for influence, or narrowly focused on stemming illegal immigration from Libya. The CEO added.

Meanwhile, Libya’s Arab neighbors, who largely stood on the sidelines after 2015 when they did not step in to undermine the political deal, no longer appear to be committed to the UN framework. He said.

Yousef explained that with the more polarized and insecure Libyan public, domestic political and military spoilers will be more emboldened and less constrained in their actions, adding that political consensus will be difficult to achieve and the implementation of any new political agreement will suffer setbacks.

“Under these circumstances, the outlook for Libya in 2018 will remain very uncertain. Youssef concluded.

Tarik M. Yousef is Senior Fellow of the Global Economy and Development Program and CEO of the Brookings Doha Center. His professional career has spanned academia at Georgetown University and Harvard Kennedy School; the public policy arena at the IMF, the World Bank and the UN; and more recently the NGO space of Silatech. He has served on the advisory boards of development organizations and on the boards of financial institutions, such as the Central Bank of Libya (CBL).


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