Rival Libyan factions to discuss dispute resolution in Paris on Tuesday

Mohammed El-Said
3 Min Read
Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the U.N.-backed government, left, and General Khalifa Hifter of the Egyptian-backed commander of Libya's self-styled national army shake hands listen to France's President Emmanuel Macron after a declaration at the Chateau of the La Celle-Saint-Cloud, west of Paris, France, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron is hosting a meeting of the two main rival leaders of chaotic Libya, trying to play peacemaker in a country where the stakes are high for both Europe and Africa. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

The French capital Paris will host on Tuesday a summit between rival Libyan factions to agree on a political roadmap to resolve disputed issues as a prelude to holding UN-backed elections, due by the end of 2018.

The meeting will be held at Elysée Palace under the auspices of French President Emmanuel Macron, who invited the prime minister of Libya’s UN-backed government, Fayez Al-Sarraj; Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar; the president of the eastern House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh; and the head of the High Council of State, Khaled Al-Mishri.

Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, head of the African Union’s high-level committee on Libya, will be present at the summit, in addition to the head of the UN mission for Libya, Ghassan Salamé.

Violence has raged in Libya since 2011, when a popular uprising ended with the ousting of former President Muammar Gaddafi and his killing at the hands of rebels. Since then, the country has had rival governments and parliaments in its west and east.

Salamé is leading the international efforts to unify and stabilise Libya, after seven years of instability since the beginning of the uprising in 2011. On 21 May, Salamé told the UN Security Council that he had given up his attempts to amend the 2015 peace agreement and was instead focusing on holding elections this year.

Representatives of 19 countries and four international organisations will attend the meeting. Countries that have influence on the ground, such as Egypt, Italy, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, will be among the attendees.

Haftar is backed by the Egyptian leadership and the United Arab Emirates, while Al-Sarraj is backed by Haftar’s rivals, armed groups in Misrata in the west, and by some groups in Tripoli, the capital city. 

On Sunday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi discussed the situation in Libya with Macron. During a phone call, the two leaders discussed efforts towards a political settlement and preparations for the long-awaited elections. According to a statement from the Egyptian presidency, Macron praised the Egyptian efforts for restoring stability in Libya and unifying the Libyan military institution. 

The meeting comes about a year after the first meeting between Al-Sarraj and Haftar in Paris in October 2017. During the last meeting, the two rivals committed to a conditional ceasefire.

Also, the Libyan rivals committed to building rule of law in a sovereign, civil, and democratic Libya, working on establishing a roadmap for the security and defence of the Libyan territory against threats and trafficking of all types, and working towards holding presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.
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