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Tunisia plays host to inter-Libyan dialogue

Away from the roar of guns and the smoke of fires in Libya, Tunisia was transformed this week into an arena to search for consensus among Libyans from different political and ideological trends.

The Libyan community dialogue concluded its three days of sessions on Wednesday (January 21st) in Tunis.

Participants agreed on a call “to form a consensus government of national unity representing all Libyans, expedite the completion of the draft constitution, present it to the people, and enter into a cease-fire without conditions”.

The statement distributed to the media at the conclusion of the talks also called for “the adoption of a national media discourse consistent with the principles and foundations of Libyan dialogue, away from regionalism and incitement to hatred, violence, and discord among Libyans”.

Political activist Salem El-Borai, who followed the dialogue closely, told Magharebia that he thought what happened was right. “I prefer a dialogue that lasts months to armed clashes even for a minute,” he said.

Borai said the choice of Tunisia to hold such dialogues was a wise decision. “This brotherly country was not a party at any moment to the existing conflict in Libya,” he noted.

“Tunisia’s rich experience can guide the warring parties in Libya,” said Wahid Alsayihi, a political science professor. “Tunisians have been able to maintain a civil state by involving the Islamist movement, which ensures stability. I think Libyans have no option but to co-exist with each other.”

While representatives of civil society, including regional notables, rebel leaders and representatives of the reconciliation committees finished their work, UN envoy Bernardino Leon resumed the dialogue initiated in Geneva. The meeting, which brought together Libyan figures that were party to the Geneva dialogue, focused on the humanitarian situation and the emphasis on continuing the negotiations.

The meeting was attended by Leon and four members of the elected and internationally recognised Libyan parliament.

Legislator Mustapha Abubaker Baera said in remarks to the Libyan website Bawabat Ifrikia on Thursday that the “meeting with Leon and the European mission ambassadors in Tunisia was constructive”.

According to Baera, the UN envoy “stressed the continuation of the dialogue and demanded that the next meeting be held in Geneva until there is a favourable environment for dialogue in Libya”.

“During our meeting we talked also about the disastrous humanitarian situation in all Libyan territory, particularly areas with armed conflict,” the MP added.

In the meantime, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya urged the Libyan parties to discuss concrete and urgent measures to consolidate the truce, address any violations and abide by them. In a statement posted on its website on Tuesday, the mission said that any violation of the cease-fire, even if limited, constituted a dangerous development that would fully undermine the truce.

Former Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A’al on Thursday called on all Libyans without exception to take responsibility for Libya and for each to have a position on what is happening.

“All parties have to make the concessions necessary for the success of the dialogue and manoeuvres will not succeed,” he said.

Writing on his blog, the former minister said, “Dialogue is continuing and will succeed, and I would advise everyone to engage in it, in good faith to God and the homeland.”

Abdel A’al said that the Libyan people would not accept mortgaging the country’s destiny to individuals or groups who serve their own agendas.

“There is no alternative to dialogue except extinction,” he noted.

Article by Jamel Arfaoui – Magharebiya

This article was originally published here.

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