By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 9 December 2014:
UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon is heading to Tobruk today, after announcing yesterday that Ghadames . . .[restrict]II was postponed until next week and would now also include members of the Tripoli-based parliament, the General National Congress (GNC).
Late last night, after over three of hours in “long and fruitful” talks with key members of the GNC, including its head Nuri Abu Sahmain and deputy Salah Makhzoum, Leon said that the dialogue would now include members of the GNC, following the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“It is important to remember that the first dialogue started with the House of Representatives (HoR) and we all agreed that the ruling of the Supreme Court implies changes, whatever the views about the ruling,” Leon said. “Unfortunately, previous talks were interrupted when the decision of the Court changed the political landscape.”
He pointed out that, within this political landscape, there was a wide range of figures who did not agree with the Supreme Court ruling. “There are people who accept it and people who don’t accept it but the ruling has consequences.”
Leon said that, amongst the members of the two parliaments, there were some so-called boycotters of the HoR who accepted the ruling and no longer considered themselves members of the HoR, as well as “an important group of MPs in the GNC” that did not accept the ruling.
“So now we have two houses where important parts disagree with the majority,” Leon said. “This decision produced changes and we have had discussions with people attending Ghadames talks and we propose to include multiple other actors.”
These multiple actors would include tribal leaders and armed groups, Leon said, apart from any groups declared terrorist groups. “Obviously Ansar Al-Sharia will not be part of the dialogue but other armed groups should be part of it, to share and contribute to help overcome the crisis.”
He said that during last night’s talks, “some important points to make possible this dialogue” had been agreed. “The key principle is that the only solution is a political settlement. There is no solution through military means and there is no solution through fighting,” Leon said. “The solution should come as a result of consensus between different actors, political and social.”
The dialogue should be based on respect, despite the different views held by those participating, he said. “Let me comment on the spirit of this meeting and people because they have expressed generosity and are ready to go very open-minded to this meeting next week, respecting the principles of democratic Libya, the constitutional declaration and principles of legitimacy and inclusion.”
The most important aspect of the proposed Dialogue was for the different actors to try to find elements of agreement to take steps to stabilise the situation in the country, Leon said. He said that new elements had been included in discussions, the main one of which was to begin agreeing on the idea of a National Unity Government and other steps to stabilise the country.
Such steps should include a ceasefire agreement and weapons control as well as militias leaving cities, airports and public spaces, to contribute to the stabilisation of the country, he said.
Leon described the role of the UN as a facilitator to bring people around the table. “We are not here to judge but here to try and help facilitate talks.”
Last night’s talks were the first official indication that the UN recognised the ruling of the Supreme Court.
It seems unlikely that all of Leon’s comments or, indeed, the fact that he gave his press conference in front of a banner for the presidency of the GNC, will be well-received when he arrives in Tobruk.
The press conference was held at midnight at a venue in the old GNC complex of buildings, after a combination of bad weather and technical issues with the UN plane made Leon seven hours late for the meeting. [/restrict]