By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 15 January 2015:
Tripoli Municipal Council has become the latest to come out in support of the dialogue . . .[restrict]process which started yesterday in Geneva. In a statement today, it said it supported the dialogue and called on other Libyans to show they backed peace and security in the country by supporting it as well.
The call follows a similar one by Misrata Municipal Council two days ago and is further evidence of a growing division within Libya Dawn on the issue. Zawia and Gharian, both Dawn supporters so far, have also backed the dialogue. Islamist-leaning hardliners in the movement, however, are firmly against it.
Appearing to put himself firmly in the latter category, Omar Al-Hassi’s “minister” for local government, Mouhaned Younis, has ordered Libya’s municipal councils to keep out of the dialogue process. They did not represent Libya, he said; they represented their local communities only. Their role, he said, was limited to providing services to their local communities. They should keep out of national politics.
Noting the invitations from Bernardino Leon, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to a number of municipal leaders to join the dialogue, Younis accused him of violating Libya law and circumventing the will of the Libyan people by ignoring Libya’ government. He threatened unspecified legal action against the UN.
Neither the Hassi nor Thinni administrations have been invited to the Geneva talks. Municipal leaders, however, are expected in the Swiss city next week.
In a separate statement indicating a determined government attempt to prevent them going, the deputy minister at the same ministry, Mohamed Lafi, said that the participation of local leaders in the talks “may cause instability and contribute to division within the country”. He added that international organisations must communicate only with the official government – which in his case meant the Hassi regime.
According to a senior local government official, the intervention by Younis and Lafi has not gone down well with local municipal leaders. [/restrict]