Meet in Tripoli supports timely poll in Libya - GulfToday

Meet in Tripoli supports timely poll in Libya


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The Libya Stabilisation Conference in Tripoli supported the timely conduct of the presidential poll set for December 24. The conference was attended by the foreign ministers of the Arab states, Italy and France, the officials of the United States and the United Nations. Observers exuded optimism that the conference was held in Tripoli, the capital of the country, though the previous conferences on Libya were held in foreign countries. Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah called for “a wide and effective participation of Libyans in the elections. A major challenge is the presence in the country of foreign fighters comprising Russian, African and Syrian mercenaries, and Turkish soldiers. According to a United Nations estimate there are about 20,000 of them, and it is felt that their presence will mar the process of a fair election. Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangoush said, “There is no other option but to respect fully the principle of non-interference. Deterrent actions should be taken against all those who interfere in others’ sovereignty.”

The foreign fighters form the major factions of the eastern and western parts of Libya, though attempts are being made to bring the army factions and their commanders to be brought under a single command.

 Libya has witnessed political unrest disturbances and unrest since the removal of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and the elections held in 2014 were disputed.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan expressed the concern that Libya should not become a “safe haven” for “extremist militias” which “threaten the stability of this country and its regional and international surroundings.” French Foreign Minister Jean-Ives le Drian pointed to the Libya conference to be held in Paris next month which will “endorse the Libyan plan for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries and support its implementation, to put an end to foreign interference.”

At the UN-facilitated conference in Geneva earlier this month a joint military commission (JMC) has been set up with five members each from the two main factions from the eastern and western parts of the country. The UN Special Envoy for Libya Jan Kubis described the Geneva deal as a positive development “that should be built upon to move forward towards a stable and democratic stage, including through the holding of free, credible and transparent national elections on December 24, with results accepted by all.” The fluctuations in the situation in Libya in the last few years have been such that until the presidential elections in December to be followed by the parliamentary elections in January, there is no guarantee that they would take place.

And, also, until all sides accept the poll verdict, whatever it may be, the much hoped for democratic stability will not materialise. It seems that within Libya, the politicians and other factional leaders have sensed that continued strife would not lead to any clear solutions, and they are willing to try the democratic option.

This was also the sense that had emerged in a conference on Libya held in Berlin last year. Prime Minister Dbeibah had expressed the view at that conference that the situation had improved in the country and there was no question of going back to war.  And Foreign Minister Mangoush at the same conference expressed that the Berlin process would move forward. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaking at the Berlin conference saw the need for the establishment of democracy in Libya because it is the western military alliance, Nato, that is believed to have plotted the overthrow of the dictatorship of Gaddafi.

The chaos that resulted after the fall of Gaddafi has lasted a decade despite flickering hopes of democracy after the 2014 elections. The hope for democracy is rekindled, especially in the December election.

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