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Stephanie Williams, at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in late 2020. Photo credit: UNSMIL

Libya: Stephanie Williams’ failed ambitions

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which began in Tunisia on November 9, has been going on for a week. Since then, the initiative by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and its effective head, an American diplomat Stephanie Williams has generated much media discussion.

Published: November 16, 2020, 4:15 pm

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    Some 75 delegates from Libya’s three historic regions were expected to adopt a road map for a final political settlement, including agreements on a constitution, the establishment of a Presidential Council and government, and parliamentary elections. However, this initiative has not led to any solid results.

    For example, a source of Libya24 in the LPDF Dialogue Committee in Tunisia confirmed that on Sunday, November 15 – the last day of the Libyan dialogue – no agreement had been reached on the names of the candidates for the posts of the heads of the Presidential Council and government. He added that the second round of the dialogue could take place on December 15.

    The forum has been mired in disagreements and disputes and almost threatened with disruption, other media sources reported. In particular, political scientist Muhammad al-Amami told Erem News that the delegation from the east of the country threatened to halt negotiations. They had opposed the candidacy of Aguila Saleh, head of the Libyan House of Representatives, to the post of head of the new Presidential Council.

    The media also reported on attempts to bribe delegates to the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. The complete lack of transparency in the work of the LPDF, scandalous reports of bribery and attempts on the part of UNSMIL to support radical Islamists like Fathi Bashagha, head of the Interior Ministry of the Government of National Accord (an unacceptable candidate for at least half of Libya and at the same time loyal to Williams personally as well as the US) suggest that the forum had been hastily convened.

    Its organizers were in a great hurry to demonstrate a diplomatic breakthrough at any cost and (for the time being) they have failed.

    At the same time, the organizers will certainly try to somehow sneak through their stillborn initiative to secure their positions, judging by Williams’ mad activity. Why would they do that?

    There may be several versions. The first one is Ms. Williams’ personal ambitions. During her tenure as Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya, she has been unable to achieve significant results. As a result, she hastily organized a forum and used the UN apparatus to gain personal glory.

    The second version, related to the first, is the desire to demonstrate the effectiveness of the American diplomat in the UN. At the same time, using UN mechanisms, she tried to impose an pro-American government on Libya. And although, judging by the disagreements at the forum and the Libyans’ distrust of it, such a government will not be accepted in Libya, the US and Williams do not view such a concern to be of any importance.

    Finally, the third version: UNSMIL and Williams are trying to hijack the Libyan peace process, prevent new people from coming to power in Libya, especially those who have not participated in all previous agreements between the UN and the GNA.

    If new people are allowed to hold power, not only will they be able to start changing the existing system, but will also have access to a huge amount of information and documents that could confirm the corruption in the top echelons of the GNA, their ties to UN bureaucrats and all the various schemes to steal money from the Libyan people.

    It is possible that all three factors mentioned above may have contributed to turning The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum into a sham. It is obvious that UNSMIL and Stephanie Williams will nevertheless try to announce major successes during the LPDF. However, if they are attempting to realize their personal ambitions at the expense of the Libyan people, that may lead to a complete loss of confidence in the UN and UNSMIL.

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