By Abdullah Alkabir, political writer and commentator

The United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has not commented substantially on the outcome of the tripartite meeting that brought together the Head of the Presidential Council, Mohamed Menfi, the Head of the High Council of State, Mohamed Takala, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Agila Saleh, in Cairo recently. Following his meeting with Menfi, UN envoy, Abdoulaye Bathily, issued only a brief statement, saying that he took note of the meeting and its outcomes.

Likewise, none of the embassies of countries active in the Libyan scene commented on the meeting. As for the European Union Ambassador, Nicola Orlando, announced that “the Union welcomes efforts of UNSMIL,” which is a clear indication of the EU's continued support for Bathily’s initiative, and an implicit indication of rejection of the Egyptian attempts to undermine approaches for a political solution. In the same statement, he warned against uncoordinated political initiatives, as they could lead to deepening divisions.

This international position explicitly underscores the position not to interact with any unilateral initiatives, whether local, regional or international, because the intensity of the conflict at all these levels, combined with an international climate full of divisions and conflicts, does not help to reach a settlement acceptable to all parties involved in the Libyan crisis.
Continued support for the UNSMIL position, signals a clear message to everyone that the accepted proposals and solutions must be satisfactory to everyone. Given that UNSMIL will take into account the interests and concerns of all parties, while unilateral initiatives will serve the interests of the party behind and indeed promote them.

Perhaps this European position and certainly the US stance, even if it is not expressed in a clear statement, will undermine a French attempt to table a new initiative, which is only expected to fail, like previous initiatives sponsored by the French presidency, which never refrained from putting forward initiatives despite expected failure as usual. Given the French contribution to deepening the conflict by supporting one of the parties, and its direct responsibility for the bloodshed and lives lost during Haftar’s recent wars.

What is the fate of Bathily’s initiative? This is the question of which answer will compromise all unilateral initiatives. The response of the five parties invited to negotiate and meet at the Bathily table is the only way to agree to end the current crisis, by heading to elections. However, this response will not be forthcoming without an explicit threat to bypass those who reject it and move to form a broad political forum similar to the previous Tunis-Geneva Forum. As waiting for the consent of those who want to remain in power will not be conducive to any progress.

Meanwhile, engaging the parties currently out of power, who see elections as the only way to achieve their dream, is the best available option to transcend the current stage. Therefore, UNSMIL is called upon to break the current stalemate, by starting preparation for a new political forum, in which all political, military and social forces will participate. This forum will gain strong legitimacy if it is formed through elections.