Abdelkader Assad, freelance journalist
In the Italian province of Palermo, it was blindingly obvious that one man was the center of attention for the whole conference and discussions; it was not a Libyan party unfortunately - the man was the envoy of the United Nations to Libya, Ghassan Salame.
Salame was the one given attention by the Italian government as the main party to the discussions at the Palermo conference, which was titled by Italy "For and With Libya."
When Salame proposed his first action plan in September 2017, every party in Libya and all of the international community backed him up and thus the Libyan crisis had been pushed into the track Salame chose for it.
Yet when the course of events was a bit derailed in different times including the fighting for the oil crescent in June 2018 and the deadly clashes in Tripoli a couple of months ago, Salame also showed up as the one man who can fix things in Libya and whose judgement would be adopted by everyone.
Salame played the role of the leader of Libya, he called for a ceasefire agreement and brought all parties to a meeting in Al-Zawiya and managed to make them commit to it.
At Palmero Conference, Salame was the one who headed the meetings for economic and security conditions in Libya. He and the UNSMIL's staffers gave their vision on how to audit Central Bank of Libya's accounts, unify the economic institutions and carry on with the economic reforms.
In security, Salame was there also to push all parties at the Palermo Conference to sit together and even shake hands and smile to the cameras.
Salame was the one who was chosen by the Italian hosts to hold a closing press conference after the Palermo Conference ended. He was there with the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, to brief Libyans - the ones who are supposed to be in conflict and in constant search of solutions for their own country - that he changed his mind and elections were pushed to spring 2019, adding that he will gather them early 2019 in a National Conference to decide on the Libyan constitutional basis for elections.
All that was Salame's role, Libyans were only seen at the table of discussions but when it comes to decision-making, only Salame was allowed to speak and represent Libya.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer