By Libya Herald staff.
Tunis, 21 January 2015:
The delegates to the UN-brokered dialogue talks who met in last week in Geneva intend . . .[restrict]to hold their next session again at the UN headquarters in the Swiss city despite the refusal by the continuing General National Congress to send its representatives there. One of the conditions the GNC laid down on Sunday for joining the talks was that they be held in Libya. It proposed Ghat.
“We’re going to meet in Geneva,” said Sherif Al-Wafi, the former congressman from Marj and leader of the 94 Bloc that boycotted Congress. “That is what we agreed when met in Geneva last week and that is what we’re going to do,” he told the Libya Herald.
That did not mean that a rejection of future meetings in Libya, he said. “We’re agreed we should met in Libya. We want to meet in Libya.” But there were immediate issues of security, he explained. “We have discussed going to Kufra, Hun or Jalu or maybe another place that will be secret until the last minute,” he said, but there was a paramount issue of safety. It would be left to the UN to decide if a particular location in Libya was safe, he stated.
As to Ghat, however, it was off the list now, he claimed, because as a result of Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni’s talks there with local officials on Sunday, Congress members no longer considered it sufficiently neutral. (However, pro-Dawn media have claimed in the past couple of days that its new municipal council supports the Hassi regime.)
Exactly when the delegates would head back to Geneva was still undecided, Al-Wafi said. The head of the UN Special Mission in Libya, Bernardino Leon, had to go to London for two days as of tomorrow, Thursday, for an international meeting on the threat posed by Daesh (the Islamic State), he explained. Leon would be speaking about the threat of Daesh in Libya. The return to Geneva was likely to be Saturday or Sunday, he said.
The decision to go back had been unanimous, Emhamed Shouaib, the Deputy President of the House of Representatives (HoR), told this newspaper. Those delegates who had boycotted the HoR, such as Misrata member Fathi Bashagha, were also agreed with the decision, he said. “We want to go to Libya [for the meeting],” he insisted. The location should be “Libya first, Libya second and Libya third”, he declared, but there had to be security. It was not just a matter of security for the delegates, there had to be security for the UN officials as well. There was a real threat from Daesh, he warned.
Once back at the UN headquarters the delegates would discuss Congress’ proposals and the future agenda, he said. “We will look at Ghat, at Ghadames, at other places such as Sebha”. If there were no problems with a particular place, “we will go there,” he stated.
But if the Congress’ demands had been made in order to undermine the process or show that they were the decision makers in Libya, then that would not be accepted, he said.
Both Shouaib and Al-Wafi expressed confidence that the dialogue would succeed. “It’s not just wishful thinking,” said Shouaib, “it’s an objective analysis” of the situation. There were now serious divisions within Libya Dawn. “The moderates in Libya Dawn will agree to join the peace process,” he predicted. Both men also believed that the vast majority of Libyans support dialogue. “We have the majority of people with us,” said Shouaib. “90 percent,” said Al-Wafi.
But equally, the latter pointed out, the proposals coming out of the dialogue had to have between 80 and 90 percent support by the Libyans if they were to succeed.
“The situation in Libya is very critical, very dangerous,” Shouaib also warned. “We have no alternative. We have to have dialogue.”
He further explained that as and when the dialogue came up with a government of national unity, the HoR would be expected to vote for it. So too, the rump Congress. [/restrict]