TRIPOLI – Saleh al-Makhzoum, chief negotiator for Libya’s rebel government of Tripoli, declared on Sunday the General National Congress, or GNC, is willing to work on all options in order to reach a peaceful solution to the crisis in the country.
“We are open to any option, especially that the Council of Deputies (of the Tobruk-based parliament) reaches the end of its mandate,” announced al-Majzum at a press conference after his Thursday-Friday meeting with UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon in Algiers.
“The end of the Council of Deputies’ mandate will help the UN envoy hold real talks,” he added, before recalling that the mandate expires in October.
Al-Makhzoum, who represents the pro-Islamist GNC, said the rebel parliament is also willing to talk and work so that the two sides are “equal in strength.”
“We are willing to sit down with them and continue talking to find a peaceful, political solution to stop the division. We are determined to have a real Libyan dialogue to resolve the crisis in Libya,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, GNC MP Abdul Rahim Al Suhaili, who took part in the talks in Algiers, said the rebels explained their position to Leon and Algier officials on their refusal to sign the final peace agreement.
“Both sides have to agree on the dialogue. We can’t sign an agreement that doesn’t adhere to the national principles,” he said.
A UN-sponsored peace and reconciliation accord designed to resolve the Libyan crisis was signed on July 12 by just one side of the warring camps: the internationally recognized government in Tobruk.
Another GNC lawmaker Mohammed al-Amari said army chief of staff of the self-declared government in Tripoli, Jadallah al-Abidi also attended the negotiations that included a series of meetings with Argelian military officials on security measures and methods to protect southern Libya and various movements in that part of the country.
On Friday, Spanish diplomat Bernardino Leon announced inter-Libyan dialogue “could be resumed next week,” without specifying the location or the date of the meeting.
Libya is a failed state, a victim of chaos and civil war since the international community supported the 2011 rebel military uprising against the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi.
Since last year’s parliamentary elections, power has been divided between a would-be rebel government in Tripoli and the other an internationally recognized one in Tobruk, which has the support of several Islamist groups, warlords, tribal leaders and traffickers dealing in oil, weapons, people and drugs.
Taking advantage of the conflict in the country, jihadist groups linked to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have sought to extend their power and influence in the country.