Arab summit backs international efforts to solve Libya crisis – Al Marsad

Libya, 31 March 2019 – The 30th Arab summit held in Tunis which ended Sunday has given its backing to international efforts to put an end to Libya’s divisions and resolve the crisis in the country.  In its final statement, it said that it stressed the importance of supporting Libyan legal institutions, by which it meant the Presidency Council as well as the House of Representatives and the State Council, and of a having an an agreement “that ends the crisis through national reconciliation in accordance with the Skhirat agreement”.

It also said it stood with the Libyans in their efforts “to defeat the terrorist gangs and eradicate the danger posed by their strongholds and territories to Libya and to its neighbours”.

During the summit, several Arab leaders spoke of the need to support the United Nations’ efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman stressed his support for UN efforts for a political solution to achieve Libya’s security and stability and eliminate the terrorism that threatened it.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi likewise called for full backing for the UN initiative. In what is seen as a reference to Turkey and Qatar, he also called on the international community to stand firm against forces known to all that had been implicated in smuggling arms and fighters into Libya and in supporting terrorist organisations, without any sanctions being imposed on them or being made accountable.

Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi said that the crisis in Libya affected everyone in the region; Libya’s security and that of his own country were deeply intertwined. Dialogue and consensus were the most effective ways of bring peace to the country. He reiterated his support for international efforts aimed at resolving the Libyan crisis but also rejected foreign interference in the Arab region.

In his speech, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit specifically criticised Turkey as well as Iran for intervening in the affairs of a number of Arab countries. It made crises much worse, he said.

The Emir of Qatar, which has close relations with both Turkey and Iran, walked out during the speech.

Presenting an overview of events in Libya to the summit, the head of the Presidency Council, Faiez Sarraj, said that the crisis was exacerbated by the negative external, regional and international interventions that encouraged some parties not to adhere to the democratic path and to distance themselves from a peaceful political solution.

“We have conducted many meetings with all the Libyan parties. We are keen to find a genuine national consensus. We believe that resolving the crisis will not result in the division of power or the exclusion of any party, as some claim,” he said.

The only solution, he stressed, was to end the political divisions, unify the sovereign institutions and hold general elections on a sound constitutional basis. This course, he said, would undoubtedly fulfil people’s aspirations of building a modern, democratic civil state.

He added: “We will not give up on our principles of finding peaceful solutions to ensure the building of a civil state.”  There could be no totalitarian rule or the militarisation of the state. They would not be allowed.

“This is a red line we will not allow to happen. We therefore look forward with optimism to the convening of the National Conference to be held in April under the auspices of the United Nations.”

Sarraj expressed his hope that all the parties to the Libyan crisis had taken on board the lesson that there could be no military solution to the Libyan crisis. “Every military escalation comes out with one result: that there is no winner. There is just one loser: Libya.”

In his speech to the summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres insisted that the call for the National Conference was a positive move and that that there was a path to the solution in Libya.

He also called on Arab countries to be prepared to make efforts and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, stressing that unity in the Arab world was a prerequisite for peace and stability in the region.

For her part, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini pointed to the need to find solutions in Libya in accordance with UN resolutions, adding that the Libyan people had to be helped in they were to reach a political solution to the crisis.

Mogherini also expressed the hope that the national conference in April would lead to a political process.

On the sidelines of the summit, support for National Conference also came from Russia. On Saturday, there was agreement in talks between Sarraj and Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is also President Putin’s special Representative for the Middle East and Africa and who was attending the event, that the National Conference was the way forward in trying to achieve consensus and ensure the stability of the country.

The two sides also discussed the development of bilateral cooperation, following up agreements signed between them and activating joint cooperation programmes.

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