By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripol and Tunis, 6 September 2016:
In an effort to bolster the position of the Beida government, House of Representatives president Ageela Saleh arrived in Niger today with prime minister Abdullah Thinni for talks with president Mahamadou Issoufou and his administration.
As part of the African Union, Niger formally backs the Libyan Political Agreement and since 2014 has been a member of the AU’s Libyan Contact Group.
No details of the talks were released beside the bromide about discussing bilateral relations. This would seem to suggest that Niger still recognises the Thinni government as well as the HoR which is internationally accepted as the legitimate parliament. Saleh appeared to take the lead in the discussions. Thinni walked behind him and Issoufou down the welcome red carpet at Niamey airport.
Saleh arrived fresh from the controversy over his alleged refusal to accept an invitation to visit Qatar. The story appeared in the Egyptian magazine Al-Ahram Alaraby. The HoR president’s spokesman Abdul-Karim Al-Maremy said later that his chief’s remarks had been misunderstood. He had not declined the Qatari invitation, which had apparently come via Oman, but had said that he would visit the emirate at a later date.
This mirrors his response in June to an earlier invitation to visit Qatar, which was passed on by the Omanis, on that occasion when he was visiting their country.
Meanwhile, the Presidency Council is still working on its third and smaller Government of National Accord ministry which will then be submitted to the HoR for approval. Saleh has not reacted to suggestions that observers would sit in on parliament’s debate on the new line-up, whenever that happens. In the past the chamber has been unable to meet in part because Saleh has been on foreign visits and has ruled that it cannot vote without him in the president’s chair.