Questions loom over Tunis meeting of Libya Dialogue as UK ambassador lobbies for HoR support for Libyan Political Agreement in Torbuk
By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 17 January 2017:
Plans to hold a fresh gathering tomorrow, Wednesday, in Tunis of the main Libya Dialogue team remained uncertain today with reports that members were still waiting hear whether the meeting would go ahead or not.
It has been widely reported that a Dialogue meeting would take place on Wednesday and Thursday in the Tunisian capital, chaired by UN special envoy Martin Kobler, to discuss possible changes to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
These are said to focus mainly on a proposal that the Presidency Council be reduced to just three members – a president and two deputies, each from one of the three historic regions, with the presidency rotating between them – and a separate prime minster leading his own cabinet.
House of Representatives (HoR) leader Ageela Saleh is reported to have given his blessing to the idea. He is also said to be willing to accept Faiez Serraj as head of a PC reduced in power and numbers so long as Khalifa Hafter is given the role of the country’s military chief, elections take place for the State Council, and he himself remain a HoR president.
He met today with UK ambassador Peter Millett who had flown to Tobruk to lobby for the LPA’s implementation. As well as meeting Ageela Saleh and HoR members, Millet had discussions with Tobruk municipal leaders.
Expressing concern over the political stalemate, Millett insisted there would be no foreign interference in the continuing dialogue process. He nonetheless stressed the desire of the international community to facilitate dialogue amongst Libyans in order to reach a political settlement that would benefit all sides.
Putting a spin on the ambassador’s visit, the HoR published versions of what was discussed which the Libya Herald has since been told were wholly untrue.
Some HoR members, though, complained that the UK and the international community did not respect the parliament’s legitimacy.
Millett, who later laid a wreath at the Commnwealth war cemetery in Tobruk, tweeted simply that he had had a good meeting today with Ageel Saleh “to discuss the implementation of the #Skhirat agreement”.
While there is near consensus throughout the country that a nine-man presidency has been a complete failure, the idea of a three-man presidency does not have universal support. Reflecting the deep divisions throughout western Libya, there are those (notably in Misrata and Zintan) who fear that the future PC member for Tripolitania will not necessarily be sympathetic to them.
They are said to be unhappy about the three-man presidency idea as it stands and want discussion of it delayed.