By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 29 November 2017:
Ghassan Salamé has said that he wants the national forum – a major element in his action plan to resolve the Libya crisis – to be held “inside Libya”. Addressing tribal representatives, civil society officials, academics and activists at a meeting in Benghazi today coordinated with Benghazi municipality and attended by its acting mayor, Mustafa Elabbar, the UN special envoy said that it would not be outside the country “except in case of impossibility”.
In recent days, however, sources closely connected to UNSMIL have reported that Salamé had decided that the forum should be in Geneva for safety and practical, logistical reasons.
Involving several hundred people in discussions on the future of Libya would require more than a one-day session and there are few “neutral” locations in Libya that could accommodate such numbers. There have been suggestions, however, that there might be a pre-forum meeting lasting just one day in Ghadames.
Tribal elders in the east, in particular have long opposed any major meeting on Libya’s future being held anywhere outside the country and some have boycotted those that have taken place elsewhere.
In today’s meeting, Salamé told those there that he hoped that they would accept his invitation when it came. He also told them that a settlement in Libya, with fixed and final institutions, was “not far away”.
“We are close to a stage established by a permanent constitution, a general election and a comprehensive reconciliation,” he told the elders and activists.