By Libya Herald staff.
Tobruk, 28 September, 2014:
Tomorrow’s meeting organised by UNSMIL to bridge the divide between the House of Representatives and . . .[restrict]those of its members boycotting its sessions in Tobruk is expected to take place in the western border town of Ghadames, the Libya Herald has been told.
The location of the meeting was decided last night, a European official told this newpaper. “It was a major concession by the Misratans and Islamists”, he said, because the town is largely controlled by the Zintanis.
There has been no announcement as yet as to who will join the delegations from either side. “It is not expected to be announced until later this evening,” the official said, adding that the main difficulty had been getting the HoR to agree to the talks. However, this newspaper was told by sources in Tripoli that each delegation will consist of 12 members of the HoR and that the boycotters’ delegation, with eight men and four women, would fly to Ghadames tonight.
The HoR in Tobruk has taken the position that it will not negotiate with those it accuses of mounting a “coup d’etat” in Tripoli. However, the official explained, the breakthrough came when HoR President, Ageela Salah, agreed to send a delegation. In any event, the talks are technically between members of the HoR alone – attenders and boycotters – not between the HoR on the one side and Libya Dawn, the rump General National Assembly and the Hassi administration on the other. In reality, however, the boycotters and Libya Dawn/rump Congress are firmly linked.
The talks are expected to focus on the contentious issue of the handover from Congress, where the HoR should meet, the legality its decisions adopted since 4 August and the legitimacy of Abdullah Al-Thinni government and the status of the Omar Al-Hassi “Government of National Unity”. It is hoped that as a first stage, a military ceasefire and an exchange of prisoners would be announced enabling dialogue to continue.
Finding a location acceptable to both sides was not an easy task, another official said. The HoR was not prepared to go to Tripoli or Misrata or any place controlled by the Misratans, while the boycotters were not prepared to go to Tobruk.
Both sides are said to have given an undertaking to respect the neutrality of Ghadames and not to pose any security problems.
Ghadames, which has a functioning airport, has the added advantage that if anything does go wrong, the Algerian and Tunisian borders are close by. [/restrict]