UN delegate to Libya Kobler ‘insulted and forced to leave Tripoli’

Press conference by Martin Kobler stopped when Tripoli authorities told him he had no permission to host media conference

UN delegate Martin Kobler
UN delegate Martin Kobler

The United Nations’ special delegate to Libya Martin Kobler was “humiliated” by the Tripoli authorities today Saturday, when his press conference was interrupted and told he needed permission to hold it at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport.

Libya Herald reported that Kobler was cut short at his separately organized press conference by the Tripoli administration’s Foreign Media Department head Jamal Zubia.

“When you want to hold a press conference you have to take permission from the Foreign Media Department because we are responsible. By law, all the people (journalists/media) who are here, I must cancel their accreditation because this is the law,” Zubia said.

“OK. We apologise and please do not cancel their accreditation. Thank you very much. Thank you,” a bemused Kobler replied.

Kobler then promptly ended his press conference and left the hall at Mitiga airport heading straight to his waiting jet and flew out of Libya.

It is not clear exactly why Zubia decided to take such a course of action, but analysts felt that it was probably a reaction of frustration to Kobler’s decision not to hold a joint press conference with the General National Congress in Tripoli.

Kobler has refused to concede any ground to the GNC on renegotiating the Libyan Political Agreement and its Government of National Accord, the newly recognised Libyan government sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

He left Tripoli with the GNC refusing to accept the Skhirat agreement.

There was also a reported invitation by GNC president Abu Sahmain to Kobler to visit Martyr Square this evening to witness the anti-Skhirat demonstrators. Unsurprisingly, Kobler failed to turn up at the set-piece spontaneous public demonstration.

Libya Herald said that the UN obtained landing permission at Mitiga airport from the Tripoli-based Libyan Civil Aviation, ostensibly making Kobler an official guest of the GNC and its president Abu Sahmain.

Kobler arrived in Tripoli with the power, authority and weight of the UN, the international community and UNSC Resolution 2259 behind him, which grants him “free interaction with all interlocutors and to take necessary steps to ensure the security of as well as the unhindered movement and timely access for the UN and associated personnel”.

Libya Herald said the “irresistible tide” of the new GNA was frustrating hardliners inside Tripoli’s GNC-Libya Dawn coalition “which seems to be unravelling and spiraling out of control in the 30-day countdown to the formation of the GNA.”

More in World