Libya “reconciliation” conference confirmed for Addis Ababa in July – Al Marsad

Libya, 31 March 2019 – The African Union (AU) has confirmed that it will host a Libya conference in July aimed at bringing about reconciliation in the country. It will take place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The confirmation came on Saturday evening from AU commission chief Moussa Faki and followed a meeting in Tunis on the sidelines of the Arab Summit of the Libya Quartet – the AU, UN Arab League and the European Union.

“It’s an opportunity for the Libyans,” Faki said.

The Quartet meeting was also attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmad Abulgheit, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and UN special envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé.

The idea of an AU-organised conference was first proposedat the African Summit in February.

“It’s high time that the [political] actors discuss the fate of their country,” Faki was quoted saying on Saturday.

In his comments following the Quartet meeting, Guterres said he was hopeful for a solution to the conflict in Libya.

“If is there is a word that defines what I think and feel about Libya today that word is hope. This is a moment of hope for Libya,” he said. “I have hope because I believe that it is possible to have now a Libyan-led political process aiming at the solution of the Libyan problems.”

Announcing that the meeting had led to “intensified forms of cooperation among our four organisations to work more and more together in support of a Libyan-led political process”, the UN chief said he hoped “the Libyan leaders will understand the enormous responsibility that they have, that they will be able to come together in solutions for the future of Libya, to the benefit of the Libyan people and to the benefit of the whole region as we all know the impact of Libya in the Sahel and many other parts of Africa, even in Europe”.

He spoke of three key steps for a successful outcome: the Libyan National Conference to take place in two weeks; the upcoming conference of peace and reconciliation to take place in Addis Ababa, headquarters of the African Union; and elections “at the right moment for the country to re-establish a normal political life”.

Gutteres acknowledged that there were difficulties, but stressed that a window of opportunity had been created by the recent “historic” meeting in Abu Dhabi between Presidency Council head Faiez Sarraj and the Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

“People are starting to show their leaders that they want peace.” he stated. “It’s not for us to define, because we’re not Libyans, so the Libyans themselves define the precise definition of the solution, but we see signs that the [divide in Libya], for the first time has the possibility to be overcome.”

In a tweet, Salamé called on the Libyan people “not to waste the opportunity” of the recommendations adopted during the Libya Quartet meeting and “not to close this window to build a unified, civil, sovereign, capable, fair state.”

Support for the Addis conference has come from the former head of the Constitution Drafting Assembl, Nouh Abdul-Sayed, who questioned whether there cold be any progress or consensus in Libya without reconciliation.

“Internal reconciliation must include all blocs  . . .and it is the local and internal gatherings that could contribute to that solution,” he said.

Lead Photo: Joint press conference of the Libya Quartet on 31 March, in Tunis. From left to right: Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; UN chief Antonio Guterres; Ahmad Abulgheit, Arab League Secretary-General; Moussa Faki, African Union Commission Chairperson; and Ghassan Salamé, UN Special Representative in Libya.  (Photo: UN/Ahmed Gaaloul)

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