LIBYAPROSPECT – Editorial
Latest days have been hard for the United Nations representative in Libya, Bernardino Leon, after a series of events raised questions about his objectivity and integrity in running the UN sponsored talks to reach the political agreement, according to observers.
Leon, whose term ended in September, has earned a £35,000-a-month job offer in an Emirati government-funded think-tank. Such contract traced some accusations to Leon of being biased to one camp of the Libyan rivals that Emirates support.
The Guardian published the news accompanied with excerpts from e-mails between Leon and Emirati foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, that include backroom information of the Libyan political talks and negotiations about the future job.
Leon’s or somebody else’s scandal?
The Libyan representative in the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, saw that Leon’s messages prove his Knowledge of the Libyan situation’s complexities, the commitment of the UN rules, and ability to withstand pressures of major countries.
“The Guardian is known to be close to the British intelligence. Leon’s message is definitely leaked by the MI6 with the aim of intimidating the new UN representative, Martin Kobler, to go back to square one and do their orders, rather than defaming Leon who refused their orders and committed to the stance of the UN and the Security Council of recognizing the House of Representatives, HoR, as the sole legitimate power”, Dabbashi wrote on his Facebook page.
Dabbashi titled his message by an inquiry of whom does the message accuse; “is it a scandal for Leon or for America and Britain?” he asked. The message confirms doubts in the heads of intellectuals about the intentions of US and Britain towards Libya, he elaborated.
From his side, the former UN envoy to Libya, Tarek Metri criticized Dabbashi’s statement; he implied in a tweet on his official account to Dabbshi’s lies, wondering; “does this clear lying fit to a diplomat?”.
Observers say that the reason behind Dabbashi’s defense for Leon, may be that he faces the same bias accusations for the same sides, actually Dabashi’s argument angered people on both sides.
Accusations of lack of integrity have been following Leon from supportive sides, such accusation have echoed in Libyans who seem to have lost belief in the UN mediated talks and look forward to Libyan-Libyan talks.
The European Union and the UN, since they are aware of the trouble Leon got them into, asked the Libyan parties to continue the road of negotiations.
The scandal, as a whole, was used by the Chief of the HoR, Ageela Saleh, and the chief of the General National Congress, GNC, Nuri Abusahmain, to hinder the talks. Ageela postponed a session was scheduled for Monday to study proposals for the Government of National Accord (GNA), for the sake of attending the Summit of South American-Arab Countries in Riyadh.
The Libyan diplomat, Idris Tayeb Lamin, lashed out at actions of both chiefs of the HoR and the GNC, wondering that; “has travelling abroad become the excuse to hinder the vote on the political agreement by the masters, Ageela Saleh and Nuri Abusahmain? Will we witness the first application of the UN’s sanctions to prevent both men from travelling?
Leon’s message published by the Guardian included also excerpts concerning his future job and the future of the Emirate diplomacy.
Leon defends himself
Leon tried to defend himself in e-mails to the Guardian which the newspaper published parts from it.
Leon denied any conflict of interest, since he had made it clear that he wanted to leave his UN post by 1 September. “The only defence I have against these attacks is my work”, he wrote to the Guardian. “As I said before, read my proposals, the agreement and the government proposal. It has been considered by the Libyans from both camps as a fair proposal.”
He adds that he had considered resigning from his post in Libya in early January and taking up an “academic post in America”. “Only many months later, when my UN contract was about to expire, I started again discussions on my future work”, he said.
Leon asserted that he hasn’t favored any side in the conflict, he said that he produced a “fair proposal” to end the war. He emailed the Guardian to say that he had had “many similar communications with other countries supporting the other Libyan camp, in a similar spirit. I’m sure in different occasions I also told them that they can ‘count on me’. My job is to build trust with all of them, inside and outside Libya”, the Guardian reported.
Leon insists that the emails have been manipulated, and that they represented a selective view of his role.
The big question now, what will happen in the dialogue after this big scandal of Leon? Will the Libyan factions understand the lesson and go forward through the path of political negotiations to save their country and people from more troubles?