UN announce new round of Libyan political dialogue

#LibyaCrisis

The UN said a meeting will be held in Geneva between Libya's warring parties but did not specify who exactly will attend the dialogue

The UN's Leon (R) meets with Libya military leader Khalifa Haftar in Libya (Twitter/@loayomran)
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Friday 13 February 2015 8:45 UTC
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The UN said on Saturday Libya’s warring factions have agreed to a new round of political dialogue, to be held at their office in Geneva during the week beginning 12 January.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) explained in an online statement that the new round of talks had been arranged after “wide and intensive consultations” by Special Representative Bernadino Leon.

Leon travelled around Libya last week meeting with rival military and political leaders.

“The primary objective of this political dialogue will be to reach agreement on the unity government that enjoys wide support, and pave the way for a stable environment for the constitutional process in which a new permanent constitution can be adopted,” the UNSMIL statement read.

“Discussions will also seek to put in place the necessary security arrangements in order to bring an end to the armed hostilities raging in different parts of the country.”

The statement did not specify who will attend the talks and it did not say when exactly the dialogue will take place.

Previous UN initiatives to broker talks have collapsed due to disagreements about attendees on both sides of the civil conflict. War in Libya has seen the country's myriad cities, tribes and militias pitted against each other in fierce battles for supremacy over Africa’s largest oil reserves.

The EU praised the UNSMIL’s Leon and his shuttle diplomacy but warned political dialogue represents a “last chance” for Libya to end its crisis.

“The outcome of this week’s mission to Libya by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Bernadino Leon, is encouraging,” said a statement by the EU’s High Representative Vice-President Federica Mogherini. “These developments, particularly the meeting scheduled to take place in Geneva next week, offer a crucial opportunity to bring key stakeholders together to find a peaceful solution based on dialogue.”

“Libya is at a critical juncture; the different actors should be in no doubt of the gravity of the situation that the country finds itself in. The opportunity to establish a ceasefire and find a political solution should not be wasted.”

Libya’s internationally recognised parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), resides in the eastern town of Tobruk after having been forced to relocate in August 2014 after the capital Tripoli was seized control of by the Misratan Led Alliance of Libya Dawn.

The General National Congress (GNC), replaced by the HoR after June 2014 elections, was reconvened in Tripoli after the Libya Dawn takeover and they have self-declared a “salvation” government headed by Omar al-Hassi.

The Turkish Anadolu Agency (AA) revealed on Saturday Hassi has led a delegation of ministers from his self-appointed government to the UAE to provide a briefing on Libya’s “political and military situation”.

AA quoted an unnamed source as having said the ministers arrived in Dubai on Thursday and will stay for a four day “official visit”.

In a recent interview Hassi said his government planned to send delegations to Arab and EU governments in order to explain its position regarding Libya's ongoing conflict.

The Tobruk based HoR enjoys good relations with the UAE. Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh – along with Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni – visited Abu Dhabi in September 2014 for several days during which they met with senior UAE officials.

That visit came after Libya Dawn forces, which are loyal to the GNC, accused Egypt and the UAE of carrying out airstrikes against its positions in Tripoli during August 2014 – allegations that both Cairo and Abu Dhabi have denied.