By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 24 May 2015:
The three-day conference of Libyan tribes starting tomorrow in Cairo is set to go ahead despite . . .[restrict]being boycotted by a number of individuals, tribes and organisations.
It was announced today that 220 delegates had arrived in Cairo on a chartered plane which then headed back to Zintan and Labraq to collect more participants.
However, the Supreme Council of Tribes and Cities of Libya is refusing to attend the gathering hosted by the Egyptian government. The council has said that if such a conference is to succeed it has to be held within Libya. Several individual tribes concur. The head of the Magharba tribe said ten days ago that while he was not opposed to the conference, he would not attend if it were outside Libya.
A number of public figures have also denied that they would be attending, among them the former Minister of Health, Fatima Hamroush.
“Someone saw my name on the conference guest list and called me to inform me,” she told the Libya Herald. “I refuse take part in such a conference which is trying to create a new “Karzai” for Libya” – a reference to the tribal conference in Afghanistan in 2002 which elected Hamid Karzai to lead the country.
However, according to one of the conference organisers, Mohamed Shahoumi, none of the names mentioned on social networks as attending had been invited. He told Buwabat Alwasat that no names had been announced as yet. Most foreign invitees had, however, arrived in the Egyptian capital. Invitations, he said, had been sent to the UN Envoy to Libya, Bernadino Leon, to representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to the Arab League, the EU, the African Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Two months ago, Leon told the Security Council that a meeting of Libyan tribal leaders would soon take place “very probably in Egypt” as part of the UN-brokered Dialogue process. Tomorrow’s meeting, however, is not it. UN officials have said that it is being organised solely by Libyans.
Rumours that Qaddafi’s cousin, Ahmed Qaddaf Al-Dam, who lives in Cairo, is involved behind the scenes with the conference again resurfaced last week when in an interview with London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, he commended it calling it a “unique opportunity to overcome divisions and save Libya.” There could be no solution to Libya’s problems without involving the tribes, he said. “If the UN were serious about resolving the problems in Libya then they would know that this cannot happen unless the tribes are part of the talks and political negotiations that are taking place. If they are serious, then we are ready and willing to hold dialogue with our Libyan brothers,” he was quoted as saying. [/restrict]