Lawyer Azza Maghur Explains Why She Suspended Her Participation in the Geneva Talks – Al Marsad

One of the leading Libyan lawyers and experts on constitutional law, Azza Maghur, suspended her participation in the Geneva talks sponsored by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and headed by Ghassan Salamé, which included Libyan figures representing official institutions and individuals.

[Libya, 28 February 2020] – In a letter sent to Ghassan Salamé of UNSMIL, Azza Maghur said that her withdrawal comes because there was no balance of voices among the attendees in addition to the withdrawal of several representatives of key institutions, demanding adequate, effective and real Libyan participation in the political dialogue.

We reproduce here Azza Maghur’s letter in full:

To Professor  Ghassan Salamé,

Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.

I was pleased to meet you on 25 February 2020 at the headquarters of the United Nations Mission in Geneva, and to meet with your deputy Mrs. Stephanie Williams, and a number of the members of the mission who provided assistance and support in preparation for the Libyan political track that was scheduled to be held in Geneva on 26 February 2020.

Once we arrived, it became clear to us that the political institutions and a number of the invited persons had decided to boycott or leave. Each one of them had his/her reasons that were announced later that day.

On the same day in the evening, a meeting was held at your request at the United Nations Headquarters, where it became clear to me that the present representation in that meeting is neither sufficient nor balanced and does not reflect our country or its small population and its vast geography.

Whereas, based on the outputs of the Berlin Conference on Libya and its annexes adopted by the Security Council under Resolution No. 2510/2020, which stipulated the following political path:

  1. Libyan ownership of the political path.
  2. The adequate, actual and true Libyan representation for it.

In order to achieve the first condition that was repeated and adopted in the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya, it is necessary that the second condition be met and that the political track for its success be adequately, effectively and truly represented by all Libyans.

The current harsh conditions that Libya has been witnessing require caution in launching a political path without fulfilling its requirements and conditions.

I could say that you are keen on ensuring the success of this difficult path, and efforts to ensure this representation through the previous negotiations with major parties that boycotted or been absent from the path, amidst a sharp institutional division.

I have some justified fears and suspicions. This important political track, which is the link and the point of solution for the three tracks, is not sufficient in representation and is not deemed as real and influential one for all Libyans. In this regard this will increase the ongoing armed conflict and may adversely affect the military/security and economic tracks. These are two tracks that you assured us that they are making progress, of course, with the differences.

In order to avoid these obstacles, I suggest you involve Libyan notables including intellectuals, professionals, and experts in this political track, in addition to the Libyan politicians. The criteria for representation must allow numerical superiority over the members of the existing political institutions, some of whom seem to have an overlap between their personal interests and the interests of the country. Rather, in the Libyan case, they need to get out of this narrow circle and embrace Libya’s intellectuals, thinkers and professionals, teachers and doctors, engineers, lawyers, journalists, accountants, university professors, entrepreneurs, and other groups suffering from the conflict in Libya.

Therefore, and in order to make sure that this political track is supportive and not obstructive, effective, and not weak, strong and not timid, diversified and not factional, I am obliged to suspend my participation until a sufficient, effective and real Libyan representation for the political dialogue track is guaranteed.

Thank you for the patience and efforts, and I wish you success.

with my best regards

Azza Kamel al-Maghur


26, February 2020