By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 22 August 2015:
The UN-brokered Libya Dialogue negotiations are to resume on Thursday in the Moroccan resort of . . .[restrict]Skhirat, the Libya Herald has been told by delegates. It had earlier been said they would resume this Monday or Tuesday. No reason for the delay has been given although it is thought to relate to efforts by UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon to bridge the gap between the two sides.
In preparation for the session, he was in Cairo today meeting with the delegates from the House of Representatives (HoR). It is reported that he will also met members of the team from the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) in Istanbul either tomorrow or Sunday to try and ensure they turn up at Skhirat on Thursday.
In Egypt today, Leon also met with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, briefing him on efforts to form a Libyan national unity government. The Egyptian minister is reported to have stressed the need to waste no further time in creating one because of the increasingly dangerous situation in the country.
The next Dialogue session is due to agree on names of the prime minister and two deputy prime ministers as well as other matters that will go into the annexes to the Draft agreement. It was signed last month by all the delegates except those from the GNC. Objecting to a number of items in the text, it has been boycotting the Dialogue, saying it will not take part unless the Draft is changed to take account of a number of amendments.
These include that all decisions and appointments taken by the HoR since it began in August 2014 (most prominently that of Gneral Khalifa Hafter as commander general of the Libyan armed forces) be set aside. Likewise it wants appointments by the Beida-based government of heads of parallel sovereign institutions, such as the National Oil Corporation and the Central Bank of Libya, to be annulled. It also wants the State Council, to be made up largely of former GNC members, to be given more powers.
So far the GNC has not said whether it will attend the next Skhirat meeting. Last week it temporarily set aside its boycott and its delgates went to a two-day session in Geneva to try and convince Leon and the other delegates to change the Draft. They failed but Leon is reported to have told them that their concerns could be addressed in the annexes.
At present, however, although GNC members are said by several sources to be willing to accept Leon’s compromise and want to continue with the Dialogue, publicly they still insisting that the Draft itself must be amended in line with their demands. Sources say that they are afraid of hardliners both within the GNC and among militia leaders.
Independent Dialogue member Sharif Al-Wafi, has told this newspaper that he will attend the session in Skhirat. He boycotted the Geneva meeting complaining that UNSMIL had not provided delegates with an agenda and that they and the Libyan and the Moroccan authorities had not been informed of the change of venue from Skhirat to Rabat.