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Libyan Political Dialogue Forum: Dinosaurs and Bribes

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) has wrapped up in Tunisia without achieving concrete steps toward selecting the names for the proposed new Presidential Council and Government of National Unity, with the UN acting envoy Stephanie Williams saying the Libyan participants of the LPDF will have to meet virtually next week to pick up from where they have left.

The LPDF started on November 09 in Tunis with 75 participants taking part to select the potential incumbents of a new interim period of executive authority that includes new names for the Presidential Council (Head and two members) and prime minister (Head of Unity Government).

Political Dinosaurs

Williams expressed in a presser little hope in the political class that has been in the scene in Libya since after the revolution of February 2011, saying just like dinosaurs were extinct, the Libyan “political dinosaurs” risk being extinct from the scene if they don’t become relevant to the ongoing negotiations.

The analogy made by Williams came after the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum participants carried out a vote to exclude all persons who had held official positions in Libya since 2014, however; the vote got less percentage than the 75% it needed as 45 voted (Yes) and 29 voted (No), and one participant abstained from voting.

Rumors of Bribery

The voting and the deliberations for political isolation saw rumors of bribes, as Williams addressed the issue by saying if such a thing had happened, the UNSMIL would definitely investigate it and those found guilty could be subject to international sanctions as they would be considered obstructionists to this dialogue.

Williams didn’t mention names of any participants as guilty of the issue of bribes or names of any external parties of influence. She didn’t even mention what type of bribes had been made and what was the purpose behind them, leaving the door open for speculation.

Elections by End of 2021

The LPDF participants have already agreed to hold national parliamentary and presidential elections in December next year, saying: “ national elections should take place on December 24, 2021″.

The UN acting envoy Stephanie Williams said following the agreement on elections’ date that reaching elections requires a new executive to unify the country, which also requires the establishment of a reformed presidential council and an effective and unified government of national unity.

Ceasefire Agreement

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis follows a ceasefire agreed on last month between the two major sides in the country’s war – the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and warlord Khalifa Haftar’s militias.

The warring factions returned to the negotiating table in September in UN-supported talks held in Morocco, Egypt and Switzerland. The UNSMIL is also leading the military talks near the ceasefire line in Sirte.

Williams has said the latest round of talks as part of the 5+5 military commission was “the best opportunity to end the division” since Haftar’s failed offensive on Tripoli in April 2019.

5+5 Achievements

The member of the Libyan 5+5 joint military commission of the Government of National Accord Brigadier General Mukhtar Al-Nagasa said they had agreed on reopening and securing the coastal road as well as withdrawing mercenaries and foreign fighters.

Al-Nagasa told Libya Alahrar TV that withdrawing foreign mercenaries will be near the road with depth of 5km to Benghazi and Tripoli as the first phase.

The Brigadier General said the second phase of the agreement says the foreign fighters and mercenaries will be sent to Tripoli and Benghazi from the contact lines.

He explained that the contact lines from which the mercenaries and foreign fighters will be pulled out are from south Soukna to Abu Grein in the west up to Ben Jawad in the east.

The Brigadier General also said that the military commission had formed committees tasked with supervising the departure of mercenaries and that they had started planning their work already.

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