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Morocco talks take a break as Leon heads to Brussels to meet Libyan municipality representatives

The UN-brokered Libya dialogue negotiation taking place in Morocco have been paused temporarily with UN special Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon flying to Brussels to chair a meeting of municipal representatives tomorrow, Monday, in a separate platform of the dialogue process.

The three days of talks in the Moroccan seaside resort of Skhirat were originally supposed to have ended today ahead of the planned municipal discussions. It had been hoped they would come up with a set of proposals on a national unity government, security arrangement to enable such a government to function, and a number of other measures related to security. However, the mandate of the team from the House of Representatives (HoR), although in Skhirat and taking part in the negotiations, is not fully clear.

The HoR had called its team back to Tobruk for negotiations and is due to decide tomorrow on its involvement in the dialogue. There are reports that some HoR members want to change the team or send in a monitoring group to instruct and control it.

There are also strong voices in Tobruk, as well as in the government, for withdrawing from the process altogether, buoyed up by the belief that they are going to win the conflict by military means. There are claims that these include Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni and General Khalifa Hafter.

In a press statement today, Leon acknowledge the problem, saying that peace was still a long way off, that matters were complicated by the military escalation on the ground but adding he was still optimistic. “My assessment at this point is positive”, he said, but warning that “we still have a lot of to do, a long way to bring everybody on board to reduce violence”.

He nonetheless expressed evident frustration that the lack of commitment to the dialogue from forces on both sides. At Skhirat was “everybody is onboard,” he said, but it was different back in Libya.

“Not everybody in Libya is supporting the dialogue,” he acknowledged. On the other hand, he stated, one of the aims of the dialogue was to “isolate [those] . . who are in favor of military solution”. These, he insisted, were a minority of Libyans. The majority, including people in Tobruk, Tripoli, Misrata and elsewhere, backed the dialogue.

It is reported that Leon’s particular ire at the lack of progress with the dialogue is directed at Abdullah Al-Thinni. UN officials have said that he has accused the Prime Minister of stepping outside international legality with the current military attacks.

The talks in Skhirat are expected to reconvene on Monday evening.

Participants at the talks in Skhirat:

  • Emhemed Shouaib (Deputy President of HoR, from Zawia)
  • Abubakr Buera (HoR member from Benghazi,)
  • Sadiq Idris Mohamed (HoR member from Qasr Ben Gashir)
  • Saleh Huma (HoR member from Ghat)
  • Mossa El Koni (Tuareg, former member of the NTC)
  • Ahmad Al Abbar (former member of the NTC)
  • Fathi Bashagha (boycotting member of the HoR for Misrata)
  • Na’eem Al Gharyani (boycotting member of the HoR for Ghariyan)
  • Tawfiq Shuhabi (former member of GNC for Tobruk and leader of 94 Group. Was spokesman for the National Force Alliance)
  • Fawzi Egab (former member of the GNC)
  • Naima Gebril (legal adviser from Benghazi; was a member of committee with Sulaimen Zubi that wrote the law setting up the Constitutional Drafting Assembly)
  • Nihad Maetig (Civil society activist, and sister of Ahmed Maetig)
  • Fadeel Amin (Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for National Dialogue
  • Nuri Elabbar (former head of Higher National Elections Commission)
  • Saleh Al-Makhzoum (Justice & Construction member for Wadi Ashatti, member of Muslim Brotherhood; Deputy President of GNC):
  • Omar Hemidan (Spokesman of GNC, member from Zliten)
  • Mohammad Al-Amari (head of the Islamist Wafa block in GNC which includes the J&C and more radical Islamists; from Benghazi)
  • Mohamed Emazab (Congress member from Ajdabiya)
  • Suleiman Al-Fagieh (boycotting member of the HoR for Misrata)
  • Mohamed Abdulaziz (former Foreign Minister, HoR’s “ambassador”)
  • Mustafa Abushagour (former Deputy Prime Minister, non-attending member of HoR for Suq Al-Juma)
  • Sharif El-Wafi (former GNC member, one of the leaders of 94 group)
  • Omar Abu Leefa (Member of GNC for Misrata, President of Congress’ Legislative Committee)

With input from Libya Herald reporters in Tobruk and Tripoli.

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