On Sunday 25 January, UNSMIL announced that talks among Libyan crisis stakeholders would take place on Monday in preparation for a second round of dialogue on Wednesday. Leon’s press release indicated that this second round would convene representatives of local and municipality assemblies from across Libya. Following the talks on Monday, Leon admitted that there are changes ahead and “not to expect immediate results.” The resumption of clashes right after the first round (14-15 January) came to complicate Leon’s task, especially, after that pro-Hafter militia allegedly attacked Benghazi’s central bank and looted huge sums of money and other deposits. UNSMIL condemned the attack and called for an independent inquiry into the incident. The attack compelled Tripoli’s Al Hassi government to freeze its decision to join the UN dialogue if held inside Libya. Besides, Leon’s talk, to the Financial Times on 22 January, of his discussions about peacekeeping forces in Libya with namely the US, UK, and France, has ignited very negative public sentiment towards his role. The statement has undermined the position of those who accepted to go to Geneva, without the permission of the General National Congress. Leon’s FT interview has alarmed the political and military leadership in Libya, who now think their conditions of clarifying the dialogue process, agenda, etc. before engaging in any dialogue round are very justified. The FT interview sent the impression that Leon has already a roadmap that he would like to impose as the outcome of the Geneva dialogue regardless of Libyan crisis stakeholders agree at the negotiation table. Some key towns, such as Misrata, whose local council participated in the first round, are calling now on their representatives to withdraw from the UN Geneva process in light of Leon’s FT statements.


Posted by Editor