By Libya Herald reporters.
29 January 2015:
Misrata Municipal Council has agreed that the people of Tawergha should be allowed to return home. . . .[restrict]It has also agreed the members of the Tawergha local council, which currently operates in internal exile, can go to prisons in Misrata and investigate the situation of Tawerghan prisoners with a view to working on their release.
The breakthrough was made during the Geneva dialogue talks between the delegates from the two places, with the help and support of the UN and representatives from other Libyan towns and cities attending the talks.
An UNSMIL statement read as follows:
“In line with the positive environment that prevailed at the meeting, the UN facilitated an agreement between the municipalities of Misrata and Tawergha on the following points:
- Establishment of a committee from the local council of Tawergha and whoever they call upon to help in visiting the prisons in the City of Misrata and to receive assurances about their conditions, and to review with the responsible authorities the charges against them and their legal status.
- The right of the people of Tawergha to return to their land through the establishment of a committee to discuss the mechanism to achieve that on the ground and to remove all obstacles and prepare all the appropriate conditions.
There was agreement that UNSMIL will follow up this process in cooperation with the two sides.”
The agreement represents a major success for the Geneva dialogue. However, it is not known how it will go down in Misrata itself. There are still strong feeling there against Tawergha, which supported the Qaddafi regime during the revolution and is accused of having played a significant material role in the siege and bombardment of the city. At the end of the revolution, Misratan forces went into Tawergha and forced the entire population to leave. It is now a ghost town with Tawerghans spread across Libya in a number of refugee camps where life is miserable, even dangerous, particularly the camps around Tripoli.
There are fears that the continuing antagonism towards Tawergha in Misrata is such that this move to resolve the differences between the two could undermine support for those in the city who want to build bridges with the rest of the country and end the current political crisis.