By Hadi Fornaji.
Istanbul, 2 September 2015:
UNSMIL chief Bernadino Leon’s meeting with a large GNC delegation in Istanbul yesterday appears not to . . .[restrict]have produced the anticipated backing for the Draft Political Agreement signed in Skirhat three weeks ago by everyone except the GNC team.
The GNC then failed to send a delegation to last week’s reconvened talks in the Moroccan resort, when progress was planned on the selection of a National Unity Government. The next meeting of the Dialogue delegates is scheduled for Geneva tomorrow, Thursday.
Speaking at a late evening press conference, at Istanbul’s Conrad Hotel, Leon’s words seemed to reflect a tough meeting with the 34 representatives of the rump of the GNC. He spoke of “very frank and very open discussions” but did not announce a breakthrough which would commit the Tripoli assembly to signing the accord. Indeed it was not clear that a GNC delegation would be moving on to Geneva for the next stage of the talks, though an UNSMIL official indicated to t Libya Herald that the GNC would be selecting a team today.
“We have not exhausted all the issues, “ he said, “This is first meeting with an important number of members in a more open format and this is something that should continue. I encouraged the GNC members, saying, as I encourage all the Libyans, to continue to engage, to discuss, to present their views and also to continue to try to find a solution as soon as possible”.
He added: “One of the messages that has been reiterated tonight has been that we have little time and we have to expedite the final solution”.
Leon insisted, perhaps more openly than before, that the ‘first initials’ on the agreement were just a part of the process.
“What is important” he explained, “is not that particular part of the negotiations but the final signing”.
That would come once there was agreement on all the elements of the agreement, including the annexes and the government list.
“Once we have all these elements there will be a final signing. We will propose to do it soon so that the agreement can start its implementation by 20 October. So let me insist that what will be important is that all the parties sign after endorsing and voting this final agreement”.
Leon insisted that his underlying principle was that only when there was a final package would there be a final agreement.
“ Do we have tangible results?” he asked, “Yes, we have a draft agreement that is supported by many people and we are still in ongoing discussion with other personalities as the one we have just had tonight. Let us wait. We are trying to expedite the final decision in two, three weeks to see if we reach these tangible and concrete solutions”.
This article has been updated to include reports that the GNC would be selecting a new team today to attend tomorrow’s Geneva talks. [/restrict]