By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 9 December 2014:
In response to United Nations Special Envoy Bernadino Leon’s efforts to facilitate another round of . . .[restrict]dialogue between Libya’s opposing parties, retired General Khalifa Hafter has said that the House of Representatives (HoR)-backed Libyan army would only participate in the talks if a number of conditions were met.
In a statement issued Monday, Hafter applauded efforts by the UN to facilitate a national dialogue in Libya, saying that the army understood that it would be the only way to establish stability and security in the country.
There has been no indication, however, that that Leon ever planned to invite the army or Hafter to the dialogue, which in any event is looking increasingly precarious.
That has been acknowledged by Hafter, although by way of insinuating that he and the army should be on the invitation list. “Leon has neither announced who has been invited to the talks nor what the agenda will be. Without this information, the leadership of the Libyan army will be unable to attend.”
He went on to demand that all parties present for the talks recognise the legitimacy of the HoR as the legally elected body of representatives for the Libyan people.
The retired general also insisted that those invited agree to the national army’s initiatives for disarmament, the dissolution of militias, the turning over of all ports, airports and detention centres to the government and the cleansing of all areas of Libya of terrorists.
Furthermore, Hafter said that representatives from Libya’s neighbouring countries, as well as from the Arab League and the African Union, be present for the talks.
Calling on Leon to take a stronger stand against terrorism which “threatens our nation and the security of its citizens,” Hafter took a side swipe at the UN and urged it to help Libya in its fight against terrorism with “more than media statements”.
“We will not engage in dialogue with terrorists,” Hafter said, “ but will keep fighting until the country is cleansed of them.”
It was announced last night that the second round of talks in Ghadames would be postponed until next week, giving both sides more time to consider the situation.
According to Leon, all sides need to participate in the dialogue, with the exception of Ansar Al-Sharia. The Special Envoy also announced last night that the dialogue would now include members of the GNC.