Ashraf Abdul-Wahab and Muttaz Ali.
Tripoli, 20 April 2014:
Tunisia has become the latest country to try and forge a national . . .[restrict]dialogue among rival groups in Libya.
The spokesman for the Tunisian Foreign Ministry, Mukhtar Shawashi, was quoted on Tunisian TV today saying that Tunisia had began efforts to launch a national dialogue in Libya which included all parties so as to achieve compromise and a peaceful solution to the country’s crisis.
Pointing out that the situation in Libya inevitably affects it, he added that the initiative was endorsed by the Libyan government and several foreign ambassadors in Tunisia including those of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the US and Algeria. Tunisian Foreign Minister Monji Hamdi had met them to discus the issue, it was stated.
No date, however, has been announced by Tunis for the start of this dialogue nor is it clear whether Tunisian officials had in fact started making contacts with politicians in Libya.
Tunisia is proposing that the dialogue should be under the supervision of the United Nations and the African Union.
Last week, the main ambassadors of the group of Western allies of Libya – Italy, France, the UK and the US – as well as to the deputy UN and EU envoys met with a number of Libyan party political leaders with the same objective in mind: forging dialogue and compromise.
On Wednesday they met with Mohamed Sawan, leader of the Justice and Construction Party (J&C) and a number of his colleagues.
“The main points discussed during the meeting were national reconciliation, the return of displaced Libyans abroad and bringing all the Libyans to the dialogue table again,” one of those who was at the meeting, J&C spokesman Hussam Al-Naili, told Libya Herald.
Everyone had agreed, he said, that the basic problem was security and the widespread availability of weapons. They also agreed that dialogue was the only way forward to Libyan stability.
“The ambassadors from the international community, along with the UN and EU missions in Libya, offered their willingness to share in the dialogue,” he explained. He added that “they will appoint delegations to travel throughout the country to strengthen the discussions and give the opportunity for everybody to participate”.
The ambassadors also met with members of the National Forces Alliance.
Meanwhile, it has been reported in the Egyptian press that Egypt plans a conference of Libya’s neighbours, Arab states and major international players to activate Libyan arms collection and storage proposal from Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. The idea is that it would be co-ordinated by the UN and the Libyan authorities.
The plan was reportedly discussed last week in Cairo between the Egyptian government, the UN special envoy to Libya Tarek Mitri and the head of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi.
The date for the meeting will be decided after Egypt’s presidential elections next month. [/restrict]