By Sami Zaptia.
London, 15 February 2018:
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) in Geneve said that they did not put out a list of attendees to their latest meeting of key Libyan political players. They don’t publish a list in principle, Manager of the Libya Programme, Christopher Thornton, told Libya Herald today.
The comment came on the back of much social media chatter by Libyans from all sides of the political trenches on the make-up of the list. There was talk of who should and should not be on the list – on who on the list should be labelled an extremists or terrorists and should be transited from Geneva directly on to the ICC in The Hague.
Thornton said that there was no point in holding a dialogue or reconciliation meeting between of people of the same opinion or best friends. Most those invited tend to attend, he confirmed.
On the controversy within Libya of some Libyans holding high official positions, such as Tripoli Central Bank Governor Saddek Kaber, Thornton pointed out that attendees are invited in their personal and not in their official capacity as representatives of their institutions.
Moreover, he added that since HD is an independent and private organization, attending did not confer or take away any sort of recognition
When asked where would HD draw the line on who to invite and who would they not invite, he said that they would generally invite any Libyan citizen who subscribes to a stable and peaceful Libya. But added they would engage with anybody.
Asked who and how they decide who to invite, Thornton said they receive much feedback and advice from their interlocutors. These included the UN and Ghassan Salame who has attended some of the HD meetings.
The HD has been active and present on the ground in Libya – east and west – since 2011 and talks to Libyans from all sides which feeds into its dialogue meetings, he added. It held its first dialogue meeting in 2016 including one for Municipality mayors in Hammamet , Tunisia.
With regards to the HD’s funding, Thornton said it received funds from about 22 states, institutions and private foundations, including the EU, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Germany, Holland etc.
Asked if he could comment on the results of the latest HD meeting, Thornton said that it was held in a spirit of dialogue and reconciliation and that it was too early to talk of results.