The importance of being independent
For many years the US has been seen as leading efforts to establish a long lasting peace in the middle east by mediation but following recent events there are those who now question the independence of the US in this role.
We’ve blogged previously about international mediation efforts by leaders of governments and this week it’s the turn of French President Emmanuel Macron who wants to re-engage the parties in the Libyan crisis.
At the same time Fayez al-Sarraj head of Libya’s interim National Accord Government is making overtures to the president of the House of Representatives Aguila Saleh to try to secure advantage over the commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
Sarraj’s unexpected visit to Cairo earlier this week was an indication that further steps are being taken by the various parties mediated by the French government towards a joint meeting of the leaders of all involved including the parliamentary leaders and the Libyan State Council.
The low key nature of the visit was emphasised by Sarraj only travelling with one assistant and remaining on the outskirts of Libya's second city Benghazi while waiting for a meeting with Haftar. Sarraj is hoping that these steps and a future meeting will help the Parliament to hold elections for president and parliament within the next few months. To do so the governing body will need to amend the current constitutional declaration on the timetabling of such elections. On the other side the Libyan Parliament has alleged Sarraj has been offering all manner of “incentives” to the political elite of the country.
Sarraj confirmed that he had a phone call on Sunday with President Macron to exchange views and news on the current situation.
The two sides in the struggle are said to have highlighted their desire for a democratic process to be a success and that they are seeking practical ways to move towards an agreed position.
The US is said to have expressed reservations about France’s efforts and involvements, but given the recent inflammatory moves by the Us in the middle east it is easy to see why parties might seek an alternative mediator to the Trump led car crash that is the current (daily fluctuating) American foreign policy.
The sudden change in tack comes on the heels of the head of the United Nations Mission in Libya, Ghassan Salame’s announcement that the UN sponsored peace agreement was to be abandoned and elections were needed “as soon as possible”
Back in the UK and Stewart Lilly, who had been overseeing the mediation regarding the knocking down of Steventon's railway bridge has been obliged to remove himself from his role after he, inadvisably, let slip what his view was – that the bridge needed demolishing!
Incidentally this isn't a picture of the bridge in question.
Lilly had been acting as mediator between interested parties who objected to the removal of the bridge (which included Steventon Parish Council) and Network Rail who have the responsibility for the bridge and the line running over it.
Network rail made an application for demolishing in April last year and objections quickly followed leading to the mediation.
After five months of talks former county councillor Lilly expressed his disappointment at the breakdown of relations.
But he then want on to add that the objectors were just delaying the inevitable
“My fear is the bridge is 181 years old; it isn’t built for the usage it has now. If, say, a few bricks fell on to the track, there could be an accident. It has been repaired before, I think around 20 years ago, but that won’t hold forever."
Worse was to come when he described the possibility of the refusal by Vale of White Horse District council as a “total folly”
An understandably disgruntled Chris Wilding, chair of Steventon Parish Council said "As an ex-Oxfordshire County Councillor he is still acting as though he still was one.
“Indeed Oxfordshire County Council would like to knock the bridge down so that they get a new one paid for by Network Rail and have no maintenance costs for several years.”
A mediator MUST remain neutral at all times, you can challenge parties, you can point out holes in their arguments but never open yourself up to the challenge of being on side with one party, and, of equal importance, don’t breach the confidentiality of the discussions you’ve had with the parties.
It may be obvious to all who is in favour and who is against but you do not make comment upon those positions as to do so destroys the trust the parties have placed in you as an independent party.
Lilly saw the only option was to resign “because it was the only honourable thing to do”
Little is know about why SSX has pursued its partner at the moment but it is believed that there are allegations that there have been breaches of intellectual property regarding the Medbot.
The AI programme is designed to achieve human levels of analytical ability in the diagnosis of conditions. Medwhat has received significant funding from SSX and other parties amounting to somewhere in the region of $2.5m
SSX had objected to the ruling by the California court sending the matter to mediation but, in a move which won’t necessarily sit well with the belief that all mediation should be voluntary, the court overruled the objection and sent the matter to mediation.
Whoever is asked to be the mediator they will need to be independent of both sides and (unlike Mr Lilly above) need to adhere to the strictest rules of confidentiality.
Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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