The first round of a Libyan dialogue kicked off last Wednesday, 12 January, under the auspices of Bernardino Leon’s UNAMSIL. After a round of two days of talks, Leon understood that this new initiative would see the same unfruitful fate as the Ghedames Dialogue, which took place last November, if the NGC’s Al-Hassi government in Tripoli continued to boycott it. Such stand was made very clear in the language of the UNAMSIL’s press that followed last week’s round of talks. The other significant evolution in Leon’s relations with the Tripoli-based government was that for the first time Libya Dawn forces were mentioned in UNMSIL’s communique as a party that could take part in the dialogue process. By indicating that the consultations, which preceded the first round, were not comprehensive and that those invited to Geneva were not full representative of those running matters in Tripoli, Leon sent a clear signal to Al Hassi government and the GNC that he was ready to engage a serious dialogue. Things moved fast on Friday and Saturday during a confidential meeting which took place in Istanbul, between ministers from Al Hassi government and Nouri Bousehmine, speaker of the GNC, on one hand, and Leon on the other hand. It was a race against the watch to convince the GNC to vote in favour of joining the next round of the dialogue. It is now known that Leon agreed in principle to the conditions set by the GNC, i.e., holding the dialogue talks in Libya and reviewing representation at the negotiation table, in addition to clarifying the dialogue process. On Sunday, the GNC convened with around 110 MPs who voted in favour of joining the dialogue if it resumed in Libya. The same day, UNAMSIL welcomed the GNC’s decision and announced that, “all participants in the dialogue agree that the priority should be, if the logistical and security conditions are met, to hold the talks in Libya.” A precarious ceasefire is holding since late last week, despite reports of clashes in the Sirte gulf. Meanwhile, a car parked near the Algerian embassy in Tripoli, exploded over the weekend. Analysts consider that the Algerian embassy was targeted because of the Algerian government’s determined opposition to any military intervention in Libya. Algeria’s position for an inclusive political dialogue in Libya as the only solution for the conflict seems to have reconciled the country with the leadership in Libya and large segments of the Libyan public opinion. Mohamed Shaiter, minister of interior in Al Hassi government, announced at the scene of the explosion that the “criminal act” was perpetrated by those disturbed by “the good relations between the [Tripoli] National Salivation Government and Algeria and its positive position towards the Libyan people affairs.” It is unlikely that the Tobruk-House of Representatives would insist on holding the next round in Geneva. The UNSC issued an explicit threat, last week, to all conflict parties in Libya in which it “recalled resolution 2174 (2014) and emphasized that the Sanctions Committee is prepared to sanction those who threaten Libya’s peace, stability or security or that obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition.”

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