Libyan unity government talks continue despite mixed signals from HoR

Internationally supported Libya unity government talks resume in Algiers despite mixed signals from the HoR

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Advanced stages in U.N. brokered Libyan peace talks resumed Monday despite signals of deviation from Libya’s rival House of Representatives (HoR) assembly.

Delegates from both the central General National Council (GNC) and HoR along with leading political forces traveled to the Algerian capital to discuss the fundamentals of forming a joint assembly.

The talks aim to put an end to the fighting which broke out across the country last summer when the HoR attempted to shut down the GNC.

The continuation of the talks was praised by the international community. Stating that “Only through compromise can Libya move toward a more secure, stable, and prosperous future,” the U.S. State Department released a joint statement endorsing the talks.

The statement, signed by the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain welcomed “the resumption of the Libyan political dialogue” under the U.N..

“We strongly urge all participants to the dialogue to negotiate in good faith and use this opportunity to finalize agreements on the formation of a National Unity Government and make arrangements for an unconditional ceasefire,” it said.

“The international community is prepared to fully support a unity government in addressing Libya’s challenges.”

The international community's strong response to the talks comes due to past attempts by parties to abandon the dialogues.

Despite the HoR’s participation in the talks, actions taken by the body have led to speculation as to its intentions.

According to local media sources the HoR’s “Army Chief” Khalifa Haftar traveled to Jordan Sunday in an attempt to secure Jordanian collaboration in his efforts.

Despite the March 10 general ceasefire, Haftar’s self proclaimed “Libyan National Army” (LNA) never ended their siege of Benghazi.

Human rights monitors Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch continuously call on the international community to address the growing rights violations committed by parties in the city.

Meanwhile a delegation from the HoR was welcomed by the U.S. where State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said officails will look to further coax them into remaining in the talks.

"We look forward to discussing their work with the U.N. Special Representative [Bernardino] Leon in support of the U.N.-led process to constitute a national unity government."

Past interruptions in talks The Tobruk based assembly had previously asked the U.N. Security Council to lift the arms embargo placed upon the HoR in order to aid its military efforts to take power in the country.

The motion which was solely sponsored by Egypt was quick to be shot down by leading member states.

“The problem is that there isn’t a government in Libya that is effective and in control of its territory.

There isn’t a Libyan military which the international community can effectively support, there are just militias,” British Foreign secretary Hammond said.

Then U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki had later commented that accepting the motion would mean “allowing the Security Council to seek guard against the high risk that weapons may be diverted to non- state actors.”

Following the Security Council’s decision, the HoR withdrew from the U.N. dialogue, only returning under the danger of potential sanctions.

The HoR’s largest supporter Egypt also agreed to support the U.N.’s efforts, abandoning its support for an armed takeover, in a meeting Thursday between Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

Hope on horizon

The advanced stage of talks set on naming members of the unity assembly comes in high hopes as Libya’s local governor's reached a breakthrough agreement earlier this month.

Following deliberations in with municipal leaders, the U.N.’s framework for a federal government was accepted unanimously as local leaders vowed to continue supporting the talks and condemning ongoing fighting.

TRTWorld and agencies