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article imageOp-Ed: Both rival governments back at UN peace talks on Libya

By Ken Hanly     Sep 18, 2015 in Politics
Skhirat - The UN's Special Envoy to Libya appears to have convinced representatives from the two rival Libyan governments to return to talks at Skhirat Morocco, even after the internationally-recognized government had rejected the latest draft agreement.
The General National Congress(GNC) government was still considering the draft agreement yesterday. A report in the Libya Herald, a news outlet that favours the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) government, had reported that the parliament had been attacked by gunmen who rejected the draft agreement. At the time the reports were unconfirmed and the pro-GNC Libya Observer made no statement.
Today the Observer reported on the incident but the description is of a much less dramatic interruption of the proceedings than given by the Herald. The Observer reports: Thursday’s session of the GNC was suspended for around an hour when angry protesters took their way into the meeting hall. The protesters called the GNC not to sign the draft and boycott the dialogue The president of the GNC talked with the protesters — said to be unarmed — and promised them that the GNC would not sign any agreement that undermined Libya's unity or violated the principles of the Libyan revolution. The protesters then left and the meeting continued. The GNC denied there were any gunshots during the demonstration. It appears that the Herald may have embellished its account of the demonstration using unsubstantiated reports to make it more dramatic.
The GNC decided it would rejoin the dialogue in Skhirat to further discuss the latest draft of the Libyan Political Agreement(LPA). However, a source from the GNC team said the dialogue would not nominate candidates for the unity government. The GNC was given 48 hours to do exactly that. It is not clear why they decided not to, assuming the report is true.
Meanwhile, Leon reports there has been a deal reached between the HoR delegation and a number of HoR representatives who want to boycott the dialogue altogether. There were already two members of the HoR who remained at Skhirat. The other boycott members are to return later although it was not announced when that would happen. Leon, in a press release after saying that the agreement was great news and probably "the most important message," went on: Thank you very much and now I leave them to explain what this agreement has been.
….
Let me just add that this is an agreement inside the agreement. "
You read that right! The explanation given is not included even though the agreement is great news and of the utmost importance. There must have been reporters there. Surely they would report what the agreement was. Here is what an AFP report has to say on the issue: UN envoy Bernardino Leon, announcing "very good news," said lawmakers from Libya's internationally recognised parliament had agreed to return to the talks with their rivals in Tripoli after resolving an internal dispute. The parliamentarians based in Tobruk in the far east of Libya had bridged their differences and agreed to re-engage in the process, he said from the talks near Rabat. No explanation of the nature of the agreement, which according to Leon had been all explained at the news conference. Just why would Leon leave out the explanation in the report? Why do reporters not bother to report on the explanation but are content to report what Leon said?
Leon still hopes a deal can be reached by September 20, this Sunday, although that seems unlikely. Even if the delegates were to sign off on a deal by then, it is no guarantee at all that the GNC and HoR legislatures would approve any agreement. Leon continues as he has for some time to ignore the fact that he has apparently achieved nothing as far as a parallel military agreement is concerned. He has himself said that without such an agreement a political agreement will be unenforceable. Yet neither the GNC-associated forces nor those of the HoR government commanded by General Khalifa Haftar have accepted the draft agreement. Haftar calls the GNC militia terrorists and vowed never to negotiate with them or agree to a ceasefire. All of this background is studiously ignored by Leon and it appears the press as well.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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