Elders Hope to Facilitate an Agreement in Cyrenaica As GNC President Dismisses HoR As ‘Unconstitutional’
Some positive developments have taking place in the Eastern province of Cyrenaica over the last couple of days. According to a group of elders in Benghazi, calling themselves a Senate of Tribal Chiefs and Notables, negotiations with both the Benghazi Shoura Council and the Operation Dignity forces are taking place in order to ensure the violence that has struck Benghazi in recent days stops permanently. Apart from some explosions on the Airport Road at around midnight last night, the city has been relatively quiet since Sunday. Some key conditions of the ceasefire include laying down all arms and recognizing the legitimacy of Parliament (the House of Representatives) and submit ting to its authority.
In a joint statement on Monday, the French, Italian, German, UK and US governments called on the new House of Representatives to be inclusive in its work. They said that the house of representatives has the blessing of the international community and would back this new institution until the hopes and aspirations of Libyans were achieved. In retaliation, the president of the former General National Congress Nuri Abu Sahmain and the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, have said that the new House of Representatives is unconstitutional. However, with the legitimacy of the new House internationally and nationally accepted, the arguments advanced by Abu Sahmain and Ghariani are not seen as carrying much weight in the country and may well undermine their own credibility. Reconciliation between the Islamist and Anti-Islamist camps will be key for any lasting peace to take place in the capital. For residents in the capital, even without the dangers of random missiles landing, life has become intolerable. In many places, limited supplies and vast queues at bakers are the now the norm.
It will be interesting to see if military intervention becomes a possibility on the ground. Former UK ambassador to Libya, Sir Richard Dalton, has said the UK and other EU states could send in troops if the authorities request reinforcements. Dalton suggested that the U.K should conduct the necessary preparation now in case that mediation should be successful and Libyan leaders generally request some form of reinforcement for their own embryonic forces.