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article imageOp-Ed: Tripoli-based Libyan government to boycott UN dialogue talks

By Ken Hanly     Aug 19, 2015 in World
Tripoli - The Tripoli-based General National Congress(GNC) government has decided that it will not attend upcoming dialogue talks that will be held to further implementation of an agreement on the formation of a Government of National Accord.
The dialogue process has been directed by the UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon. Two days of dialogue last week brought all the parties together after the GNC had received assurances from Leon that its suggested amendments to the draft agreement would be incorporated in any final agreement. While the meetings ended on a positive note with no parties leaving until the end, the GNC remains unconvinced that its proposed amendments will be included in any final draft. Until Leon provides such assurance, the GNC will boycott upcoming meetings to further the implementation of the agreement.
The latest fifth draft of the agreement is an amended version of the fourth draft and includes amendments supported by the internationally recognized House of Representatives(HoR) government based in Tobruk. The amendments remove powers that the GNC had in the earlier draft. Even though the changes caused the GNC to walk out of dialogue talks, Leon went ahead and had others including the HoR initial the agreement in July. So far Leon has not agreed to any further amendments and has tried to convince the GNC that its concerns can be met during discussion of the annexes to the agreement that involve formation of the government and implementation of the agreement. Earlier in meetings with Leon the GNC had rejected that approach. First Deputy President of the GNC, Awad Abdul-Sadiq, said:"The GNC has made a lot of concessions to stop bloodshed and solve the crisis, if the UNSMIL head Leon didn't give a chance for inclusion of all GNC amendments, I would hold the UNSMIL and its chief responsible for the failure of the dialogue which then will not be binding."
There is supposed to be a parallel military dialogue alongside the political dialogue. The UN envoy often reports little or nothing as to what is happening. There is nothing on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya(UNSMIL) site about the GNC refusal to participate in upcoming meetings. There is nothing about when the meetings will be held either. They will probably be held in Skhirat Morroco, the site of earlier meetings. On the military dialogue there is complete silence even though without agreement of the Tripoli militia Libya Dawn and the armed forces of the HoR government commanded by CIA-linked General Khalifa Haftar, no political agreement can be implemented. Haftar calls the Tripoli militia terrorists and will not negotiate with them or agree to a ceasefire. Both he and the Libya Dawn militia have rejected the peace agreement. The HoR government has accepted it.
There is no reporting on what is happening with the dialogue process. Press attention is all on the Islamic State(IS) and its supposed threat. However, IS has recently suffered a huge setback in the loss of its first and main base in the city of Derna. They were driven out by rival Islamists into the surrounding area. While IS occupies Sirte, it is hardly expanding its territory after recent gains and is now plagued by uprisings by Sirte citizens, which it put down with great brutality apparently. The issue of what is happening in the dialogue has disappeared from press radar for now. There could be some fanfare should Leon reconvene the dialogue participants without the GNC delegates. The best that could happen now is that Leon is able to find a way to accommodate GNC concerns so that all the participants gather in Skhirat. Leon hopes to finalize the agreement by the end of this month.
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
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