The African Union is organizing a national reconciliation conference on Libya, the AU Commission chairperson said Sunday, in the latest effort to break the political stalemate and restore stability in the country.
Speaking after the closure of the two-day AU summit in Ethiopia, Moussa Faki Mahamat said a preparatory meeting for the reconciliation conference was recently held in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
“We have met the different parties and we are working with them on the date and place of the national conference, which will be held under the chairmanship of the high-level committee of the African Union chaired by the Republic of Congo head of state Denis Sassou Nguesso,” Mahamat told reporters.
Mahamat’s announcement followed a meeting of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya.
President Nguesso, who heads the committee, presented his report to AU leaders, who adopted the idea of organizing an inclusive national reconciliation conference. Nguesso said he is “optimistic about the peace process.”
Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.
The situation has worsened since last year when the Libyan parliament appointed a new government led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha. But the head of the Tripoli-based government, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, said he will cede authority only to a government that comes through an “elected parliament,” raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war.
Presidential and parliamentary elections initially scheduled for December 2021 were postponed indefinitely due to disagreements on candidates and the rules to be followed.
On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the absence of elections worsens economic insecurity, heightens political instability, risks renewed conflict, and raises the specter of partition in Libya.
The UN has “no agenda and no goal but one: to secure the right of the Libyan people to live in peace, to vote in free and fair elections, and to share in the prosperity of their country,” he told the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya in Ethiopia.
“There is no alternative to elections. They remain the only credible pathway to legitimate, unified governance.”
Guterres called for the complete withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries that intervened in Libya following the outbreak of violence over power.
In 2021, the UN estimated that there were more than 20,000 foreign fighters, including military and paramilitary in the country.
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