UN envoy says Libya negotiations continue despite rejection

AP

Despite the rejection by Libya’s internationally recognized government of a U.N. proposal for a power sharing arrangement with rival Islamist-led authorities, the United Nations envoy to Libya said Wednesday that the dialogue process would continue.

Speaking in the Tunisian capital, Bernardino Leon said he came to “insist that the process goes on, that there is no chance for a small group of personalities to hijack this process,” adding that the majority of Libyans want a political solution and an end to violence.

He said: “The international community, the Security Council is saying this cannot happen.”

Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The internationally recognized government is based in the far eastern town of Tobruk, while a rival Islamist-led government is based in the capital, Tripoli.

Leon and Western diplomats have questioned the process by which the Tobruk government arrived at the rejection of Leon’s latest offer for a national unity government, implying that a minority group of hardliners essentially derailed the debate process behind the scenes and precluded a proper vote by the internationally recognized parliament.

“The situation is complex and fluid because the House of Representatives, which should have voted one way or the other on Leon’s deal, didn’t vote at all,” said Britain’s U.N. Ambassador, Matthew Rycroft. “So we need to wait for the dust to settle to see what that really means for the prospects of the agreement which has been so close.”

Rycroft added, “We continue to support Bernardino Leon and are doing everything we can behind the scenes both directly and indirectly to encourage the leading voices in Libya to sign up to the agreement — which is the only agreement that can bring a government of national accord into existence.”

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