By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 20 March 2015:
UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon has told House of Representatives (HoR) and General National Congress . . .[restrict](GNC) delegates and their entourages who have reconvened for another three-day dialogue session in the Moroccan seaside resort of Skhirat that they must make concessions. “You have to give up on something if you want to make a deal,” he told a press conference ahead of the latest talks.
“They have to be ready, I insist, to agree with the other,” he said. “This means making concessions, not trying to get everything.”
Leon also said that time was not limitless and that the UN expected firm decisions to be made at the Morocco meeting. “There is a sense of urgency and we believe this should be a decisive round,” he also said.
The talks are supposed to focus on agreement on the formation of a government of national unity and security arrangements which would allow such a government to operate without threat of attack. The security arrangements also include plans on the withdrawal of militias from the towns and cities and a general disarmament.
It had been agreed when the delegates left Skhirat at the end of the first round there almost a fortnight ago to liaise with both the HoR and GNC that they would return for further talks. These were supposed to start last Thursday. But although most of the delegates were in Skhirat on time, including those from the GNC, the HoR asked from a week’s delay to assess its position both on the content of the UN-brokered discussions and whether they should continue with them.
At more than one point over the past week it seemed that the HoR might pull out altogether because growing anger among its members that it, as the democratically elected legislature, was being treated on the same basis as Islamists who having lost the June elections had taken up arms to regain power. A growing belief that they will eventually win the battle against Libya Dawn and the Islamic State (IS) appears to have reinforced HoR opposition to the dialogue.
Although the HoR team is now back in Morocco, there has as yet been no official green light given to it the House as a whole to rejoin the process.
Despite Leon’s press conference statement today that the Skhirat talks will last three days, that the agreements on a national unity government and security matters should be ready “by Sunday”, and that he would then be flying to Brussels the next day for the second round of the dialogue talks involving municipal representatives, the HoR is not due to discuss the its participation in the dialogue until Monday.
It is reported to be split between still wanting to pull out altogether or to have a 10-member committee accompany the official four HoR delegates to oversee their decisions. The ten would, it is said, themselves also be members of the HoR.
It is believed that if the House does decide to rejoin the talks, then a third round would talk place again in Skhirat after the Brussels meeting of municipal representatives.
Leon was clearly concerned today at the consquences for Libya if the HoR opts to pull out and the talks fall apart. “In the last days we have seen more fighting, airstrikes, more actions by Daesh (the Islamic State), not only Libya but also in the region,” he said. The parties “should be aware that this is the decisive movement and if they are not able to take the right decisions Libya will go back to war again and we know this is a war that nobody can win. This is a war as we have seen in other countries in the region that may last for years and may produce suffering for years,” he said.
Despite the fact that the HoR team is in something of a limbo regarding its presence at Skhirat, Leon indicated that it would be involved in all the negotiations and that these would continue in separate talks with the various teams. [/restrict]