By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 9 January 2015:
The rump of the GNC has roundly condemned UNSMIL chief Bernardino Leon for meeting “the . . .[restrict]war criminal Khalifa Hafter”. After he had arrived for a meeting with some of the GNC in Tripoli yesterday, Leon was warned that any further such encounters could “negatively affect” the dialogue that he is trying to organise.
Leon had travelled on to the Libya Dawn-held capital from earlier meetings in Tobruk with members of the House of Representatives. But it was his surprise talks with General Hafter in Marj that raised hackles among the members of the former parliament.
They handed Leon a dossier listing the air strikes carried out by the Libyan National Army and asked him to pass it on to the UN Security Council. The dossier apparent contained reports of the bombing of civilian targets and the use of “internationally-prohibited” weapons.
UNSMIL has explained that Leon’s visit to Hafter had been part of his efforts to “de-escalate the military situation”. A ceasefire is being promoted as an essential prelude to talks. Leon said that Hafter had reacted positively to the UN proposal and would “discuss it with his team”.
UNSMIL also pointed out that while he was in Tripoli yesterday, Leon had also talked to commanders of militias from Misrata. They, in their turn, had said that they would consider the ceasefire.
GNC spokesman Omer Hmeidan said at a press conference after Leon’s meeting with the GNC’s “National Dialogue Team”, that UNSMIL was proposing the next round of dialogue be held in Geneva.
No date was given. However, Hmeidan stressed that the GNC was anxious to resume the dialogue at an early date. He said that the Dialogue Team would be consulting with the rest of the GNC and would be responding to Leon’s proposals “next week”.
UNSMIL quoted Leon last night saying: “The majority of the Libyan people want peace. They should not be held hostage by a small minority that sees that it can win this conflict militarily,” Leon said. “It is important that this dialogue between the Libyan parties start very soon.”