By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 15 September 2015:
In what is seen as the most serious challenge to the year-long UN-brokered Libya Dialogue to date, the House of Representatives today rejected UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon’s proposals to amend the Dialogue Draft in line with GNC demands. In a move that threatens to scupper what should have been this week’s decisive meeting of the UN-Dialogue negotiations in Skhirat, the HoR has also called its team back to Tobruk for consultations.
The rejection comes just five days ahead of the 20 September deadline set by Leon for the agreement to be approved and a government of national accord to be unveiled.
The move was announced at a televised press conference today by HoR spokesman Faraj Buhasahim accompanied by HoR President Ageela Salah Gwaider. He insisted the HoR did not reject the Draft as approved in July, just the amendments. In particular, however, he stressed the House rejected an amendment that the heads of the Libyan army, generals Khalifa Hafter and Abdul Razzak Nazhuri, be replaced.
On Sunday, as the price for keeping the GNC in the Dialogue, Leon agreed to take on board its demands for changes to the Draft, including not only the removal of Hafter but also that all current GNC members be eligible to join the State Council (not, as the Draft states, those elected in July 2012), and that the Council to be given increased powers.
These had resulted in five counter-demands from the HoR president who warned Leon that unspecified measures would be taken by the parliament if there were any changes to the Draft or any attempt to undo or even review appointments and laws already made by it.
The HoR reaction to the decision to amend the Draft not only derails Leon’s hopes of a GNA being announced by 20 September, it throws the entire Dialogue process into chaos. Both the HoR and the GNC now appear more divided and intransigent than ever.
Meanwhile, in the HoR, the mood is said to be sombre with the Draft changes having strengthened the hand of those who oppose any negotiation with the GNC and instead support Hafter’s plans for a military council to rule Libya after the HoR’s mandate runs out on 21 October. [/restrict]