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 Treasury Designates Additional Libyan Political Obstructionist

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Libyan Speaker and President of the House of Representatives (HoR) Agila Saleh Issa (Issa) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13726, which imposes sanctions against individuals or entities that, among other things, threaten the peace, security, or stability of Libya or obstruct or undermine the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA).  Today’s action emphasizes the U.S. Government’s commitment to the Libyan Political Agreement, which created the GNA on December 17, 2015, and demonstrates that the U.S. Government will not tolerate actions by individuals who undermine the political transition in Libya.  This designation complements the European Union’s designation of Issa on April 1.  As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Issa that are within the jurisdiction of the United States or in the control of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him. 
“Agila Saleh Issa is responsible for stalling political progress in Libya, and today’s action sends a clear message that the U.S. Government will continue to target those who undermine the peace, security, and stability of Libya,” said John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director.  “We will continue to support Libya’s Government of National Accord and its efforts to build a better and more stable future for the Libyan people.”
Issa has actively worked to obstruct and delay the formation of the GNA.  He is being designated today for being responsible for, or complicit in, actions or policies that obstruct, undermine, delay, or impede, or pose a significant risk of obstructing, undermining, delaying, or impeding, the adoption of or political transition to the GNA.   
Issa repeatedly blocked votes by the HoR needed to support Libya’s political transition.  In October 2015, Issa presided over an HoR session that was scheduled to hold a vote to endorse the Libyan Political Agreement and the GNA.  The session ended prematurely because Issa listed four new conditions for the HoR to approve the GNA, then departed, forestalling a vote.  By mid-October, many HoR members began voicing their concern that Issa would be intentionally absent for any vote on the formation of the GNA.
In early November 2015, the HoR vote was again postponed due to Issa’s trip to Saudi Arabia, which appears to have been another deliberate act to prevent a vote on the GNA.  Throughout that month, Issa continued to be unavailable to preside over a vote on the political agreement.  Despite repeated Libyan calls to hold the vote, Issa began to travel again as part of his delay tactics.  Later that month, over 90 HoR members signed a statement backing the GNA and accusing Issa of violating HoR rules by preventing them from meeting to vote.
On January 25, 2016, the HoR finally voted to ratify the Libyan Political Agreement and endorse the Presidency Council.  Since that time, however, Issa has prevented a vote on the GNA’s Cabinet despite broad support for the Cabinet by the membership of the HoR and in violation of the Libyan Political Agreement.
To see the identifying information relating to today’s actions, click here.
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