By Libya Herald staff.
Tunis, 1 May 2015:
Delegates from both sides . . .[restrict]of the political divide in Libya say that they now think the latest draft from UNSMIL on interim political structures to govern Libya will be accepted by all concerned by the end of the month.
“We will get a result soon – before Ramadan – and it will be similar to Draft No. 3,” Sharif Al-Wafi told the Libya Herald today. The GNC in Tripoli which has rejected the draft will back it, he predicts.
A former member of the General National Congress (GNC) for Marj, he supports the position of the House of Representatives (HoR).
The same view has come from Fathi Bashagha, a boycotting member of the HoR for Misrata who is regarded as his city’s voice in the UN-brokered dialogue.
“I expect an agreement before Ramadan, hopefully by the end of May,” he also told this newspaper this evening.
Both men have said they do not expect serious changes in the draft, unveiled by UN envoy Bernardino Leon earlier this week.
It is a major mood shift from yesterday when Bashagha and the Misratan delegation accompanying him were furious about the proposals when they and other Dialogue participants gathered in Tunis to meet European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogharini.
Today, there was joint optimism,
According to Al-Wafi, only minor changes are needed. Moreover, he warned, “if Leon makes big adjustments, the House will reject it [the draft]”. People in Libya would think that the UN envoy was being intimidated by the militias in Tripoli if he significantly altered the proposals, he suggested.
The main changes he proposes relate to Article 36, setting a time limit of 25 December 2015 for the work of the Constitutional Drafting Assembly. He also believes the Dialogue draft should not be “interfer” in the CDA’s work even though it should have come up with its own proposals already. He further says he wants the date at which the full HoR first meets – participating and boycotting members t0gether – to be brought forward from 15 June.
From Bashagha, a former commander and still a major figure in Misrata’s Halboos Brigade, there are a larger number of proposals, the first being Sunday’s deadline for changes to be sent to Leon. “It needs to be later,” he said this evening.
The other changes his side wants to see are :
- The HoE to meet before it approves the Government of National Accord;
- UNSMIL to clarify points that are “unclear” (he did not explain what they were);
- The 60-day deadline for militias to hand in their weapons to be extended (he thought it not long enough);
- The powers of the Supreme Council of State also to be re-assessed.
In the current draft, the latter has a merely advisory role. “This is an important issue,” Bashagha said.
He added that the HoR itself had to be “fixed” before it could legitimately meet to approve a new government. This would involve agreeing on where it should meet and its in-house rules as well as re-electing a new president and re-assessing legislation it has passed.
He said he is sure this can be achieved quickly.
For his part, Al-Wafi, said he was convinced that if the GNC agreed the proposals, the militias in Tripoli would accept them. “It is the political wing of Libya Dawn,” he said. They would not sign up to them if Dawn were opposed, he suggested.
However, if the militias in Tripoli were opposed, he warned that a military force, either from the Arab League or the UN, would have to go into Tripoli to “catch them, one by one, and take them to [the International Criminal Court in] The Hague”.
The international community would have to take action, he said. The dialogue process had been going on for months, he pointed out. A fortune had been spent. People had gone to Geneva, to Skhirat, to Algiers. If the international community then did nothing when there was an agreement, it would all have been a “ridiculous” waste of time, he said. “Someone will have to go to Tripoli and grab them,” he insisted. “It can be done.”
But he was equally confident that “if we get an agreement, the international community will take action to support it.”
As for the next Dialogue meeting in Skhirat, it could take place as early as next Friday, he suggested. [/restrict]