Attempts made to revive Libya-Libya dialogue

- Five members from the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk flew to Tripoli in a move to revive what is called the Libya-Libya dialogue.

A five-member delegation from the House of Representatives has arrived in Tripoli hoping to revive the “Libya-Libya” dialogue launched in December 2015. The group was active around the same time as the UN-brokered Libya Political Agreement (LPA) was signed in Skhirat, Morocco, on December 17. Neither the HoR nor the rival government in Tripoli, the General National Congress (GNC), signed the LPA. The Libya-Libya dialogue was designed to achieve a political solution through negotiations only with groups from the rival parliaments, without the mediation of the UN or foreign pressure. The group appeared to lose momentum and relevance once the Skhirat agreement was signed and the process of setting up the Government of National Accord (GNA) associated with the LPA forged ahead. However, now that the GNA and its supporters have been unable to gain a vote of confidence in the HoR, the alternative represented by the Libya-Libya dialogue appears to be making somewhat of a comeback.
Back in December the presidents of both the GNC, Nuri Abu Sahmain and of the HoR Ageela Salah met in Malta but now Salah seemingly supports the GNA. The GNC and its leadership, however, have continued to champion the dialogue.
The leader of the HoR delegation is Benghazi HoR member Ibrahim Amaish. Along with GNC deputy president Awad Sadeg, he negotiated and signed the proposal setting up the Libya-Libya dialogue. As with the LPA, the Libya-Libya dialogue proposal sees a unity government as helping to solve the Libyan crisis. As a short term measure the 1963 Constitution would be amended. The HoR team expects to spend a week in Tripoli for talks with the dialogue committee headed by Sadeq but also with the National Accord Council. The Council was set up to further the dialogue. There is also a 21 member committee set up to help advance the dialogue.
Supporters of the UN-brokered GNA consider the rival Libya-Libya dialogue as a move to derail the formation of the UN-brokered government and have been hostile to the group. However, the failure of the GNA to gain a vote of confidence amid obvious divisions within the GNA and HoR make the Libya-Libya dialogue more attractive to some. The Libya-Libya dialogue group may even adopt some of the ideas incorporated in the GNA such as having a presidency council. The group expects to name ministers in a national unity government and develop plans for national security in the talks this week. The Libya Observer also has a report on the arrival of the delegation and its mission.
Among the supporters of the Libya-Libya dialogue is the Grand Mufti recognized by the GNC. He has regularly championed the dialogue while condemning the UN-sponsored dialogue and agreement. Ali Salabi, political mentor of the Muslim Brotherhood, also endorsed the Libya-Libya dialogue. Salabi said Libyans should unite against the threat of the terrorism of the Islamic State by forming a unity government on their own rather than having one "appointed by foreigners" who were not interested in the good of Libyans. In a statement from Tripoli Salabi said: I don’t think there is any solution to the Libyan crisis but overall reconciliation, away from intervention by foreigners who do not want good for Libya.The war on terror needs a national unity government backed by all Libyans with a clearly defined mandate which is also prepared to cooperate with the international war on terrorism”.In contrast, Mohamed Sawan, who heads the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Justice and Construction Party, explicitly backs the GNA. In conversation with Peter Bodde, the U.S. ambassador to Libya he claimed to be in favor of the GNA and thought the HoR would ultimately approve it.

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