By Walid Abdullah
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Wednesday welcomed a decision by Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament to accept proposed amendments to a landmark political agreement signed in late 2015.
On Tuesday, the Tobruk-based assembly endorsed a “reformulation” -- proposed by UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame -- of the 2015 Skhirat agreement between Libya’s main political camps.
Signed almost two years ago in the Moroccan city of Skhirat, the agreement gave rise to Libya’s current UN-backed unity government based in Tripoli.
The deal also established a Presidential Council and a Council of State and extended the term of the Tobruk-based parliament.
One year after its signing, however, Libya’s eastern government (based in the coastal city of Al-Bayda roughly 265 kilometers west of Tobruk) distanced itself from the agreement and demanded that it be reformulated.
In September, talks kicked off in next-door Tunisia between representatives of Libya’s main power centers with a view to amending the agreement’s terms.
On Wednesday, UNSMIL voiced its pleasure with Tobruk’s decision, which, it said, would lead to a viable compromise formula -- based on recent deliberations in Tunisia -- for amending the 2015 agreement.
In September, Salame unveiled a roadmap for resolving Libya’s long-running political crisis.
The plan, which calls for holding presidential and parliamentary polls within one year, is ultimately aimed at establishing a “unified, representative” government within the framework of the revised 2015 agreement.
Libya has remained dogged by chaos since 2011, when a bloody uprising led to the ouster and death of longtime President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.
The resultant power vacuum led to the emergence of several competing seats of government -- including one in Tobruk and another in capital Tripoli -- and a plethora of heavily-armed militia groups.