Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tobruk delegates told to withdraw from Libya peace talks but go on to Berlin anyway

Bernardino Leon, the Special Envoy of the UN to Libya, who is facilitating dialogue between representatives of the two rival governments in Libya, said that the time had come to agree on a unity government.
Leon hopes to have an agreement by June 17th. At a press conference in Berlin on Thursday where the talks are taking place, along with officials from numerous countries and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Leon said there were "very encouraging signs":“We now have a draft.This draft provides solution for most of the challenges we have been facing and will be facing in the coming months,The principles of inclusion, balance and consensus are there, at every step, at every institution and the principle that no side, no actor will be able to impose its views on the other."
I find it hard to believe that the UN press release fails to mention basic but crucial facts about what is taking place. The internationally-recognized government in Tobruk, or House of Representatives(HoR), has rejected the draft resolution that Leon is so positive about. Those attending as representatives of the HoR are not there as legitimate representatives of the HoR but only as individual persons. The Libya Herald, which is usually pro-Tobruk but at present seems to be pushing for a deal, reports: The House of Representatives (HoR) has decisively rejected the latest and supposedly final draft from UN for a peace settlement as unacceptable. In Tobruk, 55 members out of 72 attending today’s session are reported to have decided to suspend the HoR’s involvement in the process and to call back their delegates to Tobruk for talks.
Those who went to Berlin are no longer considered by the HoR to be representatives of the government but are there on a personal basis. Does it not bother Leon that the persons agreeing to the draft from the HoR are not representing the HoR any longer but were called back for consultations? Consider this report:
But Fradj Abou Hachem, spokesman for the parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk, said anyone from his delegation who goes to Berlin would be doing so on a personal basis only. He said parliament was "very unhappy over the draft accord," particularly the proposal to give wide powers to the rival General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, and "we have called the ... team home for consultations."
The rival GNC government in Tripoli and political parties associated with it have applauded the new draft
Even the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya that has been critical of the Libya Dawn militia that is associated with the Tripoli government welcomed the draft. But surely it is hardly a positive move to be pushing an agreement forward when the parties representing one side are not authorized to negotiate by that side. Leon notes that some are working against the agreement. As seems to be a protocol with the UN no person or group is specifically identified as being responsible for anything bad in LIbya unless it is the Islamic State:“The problem we have in Libya there are many negative forces operating against the agreement,”Those negative forces are first and foremost the internationally-recognized Tobruk government. There is no agreement and will not be until representatives from the two parties come to an agreement. Already there are demonstrations against the UN and Leon in several eastern cities:In a sign of the anger today, in the east in particular, protestors took to the street of Benghazi, Tobruk and other places to demonstrate against the draft, the Dialogue and Leon. They accused him of aiding and abetting the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorists. It was described in Benghazi as a “betrayal of the blood of the martyrs”.


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