By Tim Nanns
UN special envoy Bernardino Leon told journalists on Monday in Brussels that “there is a chance that we can […] have the first names for a unity government this week”, after a meeting with Libyan mayors.
Leon appeared alongside EU High Representative Federica Mogherini to issue a statement on the ongoing Libya negotiations. Regarding the negotiations in Morocco, he expressed his hopes of being able to “start this week, if things go well, discussing the unity government”.
He also paid his regards to the Libyan mayors present in Brussels for “laying their hands to those who might be close to their enemies”, stating that this meeting was especially important as a signal to the Libyan people. Yet, despite all optimism, Leon warned of expectations being “too high, bearing in mind how difficult the situation is on the ground”, concerning the formation of a unity government.
Mogherini meanwhile made clear that there was need for “an agreement for having the support of the international community”, ruling out “any kind of military interventions”. She stated that, after an agreement was reached, the “European Union will be ready to assist […] in any possible way”, also mentioning that she was evaluating “CSDP options, security and defence options”, echoing her earlier intention of drawing up proposals for a potential EU Libya mission.
According to Reuters news agency, the Libyan peace talks, which were scheduled to end on Sunday in Morocco, had been extended by two days. This is despite an announcement made by the internationally recognised government on Friday to start an offensive to retake Tripoli, which had been lost to ‘Libya Dawn’ last year, forcing the government to move to Tobruk in eastern Libya. Leon had earlier expressed his concerns about the impact of the offensive on the ongoing peace negotiations.