By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis and Tripoli, 21 March 2015:
UNSMIL Chief Bernardino Leon has been highly critical of the Libyan Army’s drive . . .[restrict]towards Tripoli, warning that it could wreck the talks currently under way in Skhirat, Morocco.
He compared the government’s assault, which began on Friday, to the surprise attack by Misratan forces on the eastern oil export terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf. That attack had also come at a delicate moment in earlier talks.
Leon said that the Misratan assault had produced what had probably been “ the toughest reaction of the United Nations so far. Yesterday, we had a new military operation against Tripoli, precisely at a decisive moment of the talks and our reaction today is as strong as it was in the past”.
Tomorrow is the last of three days of talks in Morocco. In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Leon said that agreement was going to be difficult and that both sides were still “ a long way off”. The aim remained he said, to reach agreement tomorrow on the creation of a national unity government, security arrangements and confidence-building measures.
Moderates on both sides wanted an agreement while hardliners believed a military solution would still work, said Leon. The international community could not accept a deal imposed through force.
According to the Spanish newspaper, Leon also said that the international community had not done well after the 2011 intervention and should have stayed on the ground in Libya: “It wasn’t about rebuilding a state, ” he said, “it was about building one from scratch”. [/restrict]