Libyan peace dialogue resumes on August 10
After consulting with relevant stakeholders and also international partners, Bernardino Leon, special UN envoy to Libya, announced there would be a new round of dialogue talks on Monday August 10. The location of the talks was not announced.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya(UNSMIL) claims there had been "significant progress to date within the framework of the dialogue process." The progress includes a non-agreement that was rejected by one of the two rival governments, the General National Congress government based in Tripoli. While the internationally-recognized government based in Tobruk accepted the draft peace agreement, Kahlifa Haftar, commander of the armed forces, and the air force head have rejected it. Leon no longer bothers to report on a supposed parallel military dialogue between armed forces of the Tripoli and Tobruk government. Haftar refuses to talk with Tripoli's Libya Dawn militia and vows that he will not agree to a ceasefire with them. He considers them terrorists. The "significant process" so far is to isolate the GNC government by having other parties initial an agreement that Leon must have known the government could not sign.A great deal of pressure has been placed upon parties to sign the agreement. The EU has even named five people, three associated with the Tripoli government plus Khalifa Haftar and commander of the air force of the Tobruk government, as subject to sanctions. However, the GNC government insists the present draft must be amended in accordance with their concerns. The GNC favored an earlier fourth draft but this was amended to remove powers the GNC would have had in the earlier version. This was done apparently so that the Tobruk government would return to the dialogue since it objected to the fourth draft. The amendments were made without any consultation with or the approval of the GNC. The GNC rejected the fifth draft.The UNSMIL press release said Leon is urging the main parties to continue efforts to narrow their differences and to create a common platform that would form the basis for a peaceful resolution to both the political and military conflict in Libya. Leon does note that some parties have reservations about what has been achieved to date. That is an understatement. All the parties should have reservations about an "agreement" that is not agreed to by one of the two main parties in conflict. The agreement is simply a platform to form a so-called government of national accord that is then supposed to approve military involvement in Libya by the anonymous "foreign partners" mentioned in press release as being involved in the dialogue. Leon talks of resolving concerns "within the framework of the dialogue process." He does not say whether this involves amending the draft initialed by other participants as demanded by the GNC or requires working within the framework of the draft without amendments. The GNC insists Leon agreed to amendments. Other parties, and Leon in the past, have said it cannot be amended.Leon refuses to clarify his position but ends with typical optimism, stressing that any political settlement would include guarantees designed to reassure the different parties regarding any outstanding concerns they may have.The Libya Observer, a pro-Tripoli news outlet, said it was not known whether the GNC delegation would attend the new sessions even though GNC delegates had met with Leon earlier in the week in Algiers. While the GNC has claimed it is still committed to the dialogue process, it also demands amendments to the present agreement before it will initial it. Leon seems to be trying to convince the GNC that their concerns can be addressed within the present agreement. At Algiers, the GNC rejected that view and demanded amendments. The GNC view is as follows:According to the Libya Herald the new dialogue round will discuss who should be the Prime Minister and the two Deputy Prime Ministers in the new Government of National Accord. These three would then select government ministers in cooperation with the dialogue members. The Herald, which is usually pro-Tobruk, sums up one of the main difficulties facing attempts to have the GNC government sign on to what the Herald calls the Leon Plan:
The General National Congress has indicated that it is necessary that the UNSMIL adopt its amendments to the draft in order to pursue its participation in the dialogue.Saleh Al-Makhzoum, the Second Vice Speaker of the GNC said in a Tripoli press conference Saturday that the GNC told the UNSMIL that it will go on participating in the dialogue rounds as per the principles set before.
The HoR would remain the primary legislature, but HoR members objected to Draft Four of the Leon Plan which had powers being given to a State Council, made up largely of former GNC members. HoR members are much happier with the fifth draft which downgrades the State Council to an advice-only body, but unsurprisingly the GNC has said no.Leon amended the fourth draft to please the HoR so it is not surprising they signed the agreement while the GNC has not. Surely Leon must have known this would happen. The Herald claims the GNC is now boycotting the proceedings and that Leon will go ahead with the choice of a Prime Minister and two deputies without them. If this is true this makes a mockery of the dialogue process. It will spell the end of any possibility of a political solution that would involve the GNC, Leon is trying to make peace without the participation of either of the two main military forces in conflict or one of the main competing governments. A recipe for continued civil war and disaster all orchestrated by the "foreign partners" who are probably using Leon to forge a solution acceptable to them and that will pave the way for a foreign intervention. Perhaps, the GNC representatives will show up at the resumed dialogue meetings and attempt to have the draft amended or work out some compromise. This is the only hope for a political solution. Even if this happens there is still no military dialogue or agreement that could ensure the political agreement was carried out.