By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 29 June 2016:
The President of the House of Representatives (HoR), Ageela Saleh, has set aside an invitation from Qatar for talks. In a statement made while visiting Omam, he thanked Qatar and its emir for their “kind invitation”, adding that Libya highly valued its relationship with it, but said that he would have to take it up another time given the current situation in Libya.
There had been widespread speculation that he would travel from Oman to Qatar for talks as part of a Saudi Arabia-coordinated Gulf-state effort at mediation in Libya’s crisis. Rumours to that effect had, though, already been unofficially denied by his entourage.
Libya’s present crisis has not stopped Ageela Salah from going almost anywhere else. Indeed his trips in recent weeks to places as far apart as Abidjan and Jakarta, and many more points within the Middle East have resulted in him being accused by the US and the EU of deliberately using foreign abroad to avoid a formal meeting of the HoR for a vote on the Government of National Accord. They have sanctioned him as a result.
For the past three years, Qatar has been persistently accused of funding and supporting Islamists in Libya, notably those associated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an accusation it denies.