By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 28 May 2015:
Mayors and councillors from all over Libya were gathering this evening in Tunis for a . . .[restrict]second round of talks brokered by United Nations Support Mission in Libya.
Some 30 municipalities are expected to hear UNSMIL chief Bernardino Leon open tomorrow’s follow-up to their meeting in Brussels in March.
A key topic is likely to be the Supreme Council for Local Administration proposed in the third draft of the political agreement. The lack of effective central government has caused municipalities to fall back on their own devices. There is an argument that elected councillors and the mayors that they themselves choose from among their number, should have a strong voice in any National Unity Government .
Other areas slated for discussion include further steps to build confidence among municipalities and their communities, and also cover humanitarian support and the challenge of detainees, the missing and internally displaced people.
It is unclear if Misrata’s mayor, Mohamed Ishtewie will be attending. Today he was reported to have visited Algiers on a trip that has drawn a mixed response from the rump of the old parliament, the General National Congress. A GNC statement appeared to suggest that it had not been consulted about the trip. However, it went on to claim that Ishtewie had travelled at the invitation of the Algerian foreign ministry and that the mayor was presenting “a true image of the Libyan crisis, pointing out that it all happened in coordination with the GNC”.
Ishtewie is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this month he headed a Misratan delegation to the UAE. Angry Muslim Brotherhood supporters in his town protested the trip and burnt UAE flags.
Leon comes to Tunis fresh from a Brussels conference today organised by the Socialists and Democrats in the European parliament. There he said that he believed that government could be formed within weeks and he expected there would be a meeting in Skhirat, Morocco early next month to work on the final draft of the Peace Accord. It seems that 7 June has been set for the gathering.
Meanwhile Leon warned that over and above its civil conflict and the rising menace of IS, the country was on the edge of financial disaster.
“Libya’s economic collapse is a real possibility. Recently, I met with the governor of the central bank. The situation is very difficult in terms of Libyan finances,” he said.