Aref Nayed: We Must All Respect the Elections and the Will of the Libyan People - Al Marsad

The Chairman of the Ihya Libya Party and Presidential candidate, Aref Nayed, urged all countries to trust the Libyan people and allow them the opportunity to choose whoever they want to rule as a president and rule as a parliament. Nayed said the people of Libya are fully able to maintain a great balance in their relations with everyone with the opportunity to shape their own future.

Presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in Libya on 24 December 2021, Aref Nayed, said during a recent interview broadcast on RT Arabic’s Newsmaker programme during his visit to Moscow, that “the one who has the best chances of succeeding is the one who will be able, during the electoral campaign period, to convince the Libyans of their vision, their program, and their social contacts that can remove this great rift that occurred in Libya—restore hope to Libya, and restore security and safety to Libya.”

He noted that it was too early to predict the results of the elections, as the final list of candidates was not yet determined, and no one knows what the different candidates will present during this period, “which will be full of events, debates and presentation of programs.”

He continued, “The beautiful thing is that it is a great honor to participate in them regardless of the results, and we must all respect these elections and respect the will of the Libyan people, no matter what this will and whatever the results.”

He added: “We don’t question the Election Commission and respect its opinion and rulings, but it seems that the Election Commission has transferred some important issues which fall under Article 12 to the judiciary, and left the matter to the appeals. This period is a period of legal appeals. Will we see some of the names  returned to the list? Will other names fall? It is not clear or obvious, and it will not be clear until the final list is issued.”

He stressed that the most difficult challenge is the challenge of the social fabric  that has been torn apart during this decade of conflict. “This social fabric needs to be healed, it needs to be reconciled, and this will only happen through tolerance, love, compassion, and true national reconciliation based on compensation for harm and reparations”, said Nayed.

And he added: “The Libyans are unitary par excellence, even those who demand decentralization and want respect for the historical regions, governorates and cities, do not mean by it that they want the fragmentation of Libya. This is what is required of all of us. We must not falter, frustrate, or allow the elections to be postponed in any way, whatever the circumstances. We must trust the Election Commission, the Libyan judiciary, and in God Almighty, that we will emerge from this crisis to a bright future.

He continued: “What I advise Turkey and all countries dealing with Libya is to bet on the Libyan people and on a good relationship with the Libyan people, not on a particular political class, or a particular group, or a particular ideology, or a particular party, or a particular person.”

“In my opinion, the real interests of Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and other countries are in a stable, united Libya, with a prosperous, multi and diversified economy, capable of cooperating economically in all fields … There is room for all these countries to participate in the reconstruction of Libya and to have balanced and respectful economic relations,” said the Chairman of the Ihya Libya Party.

He also warned that “military hegemony, however, through mercenaries or military bases, is something that will not be accepted either from Turkey or from any other country, because Libya is an independent country on whose soil there should not be any foreign military, mercenaries or otherwise.”

AlMarsad publishes below the full English of the Arabic interview on RT Arabic Channel:

INTERVIEW

RT Interviewer: Dr Aref, welcome to RT. You are with us here in Moscow, and we would like to know the details of your visit, its reasons and what you discussed with Russian officials?

Dr Aref Nayed : Good evening, as you know Russia is a member of the Security Council. The United Nations Security Council is the guarantor of the Libyan elections, and Security Council resolutions are the decisions on which these elections are based. Yes, the Libyan parliament issued election laws, whether Presidential or Parliamentary, but it remains to be said that the Security Council must internationally and legally guarantee the safety of these elections—according to international law.

I came to Moscow after consultations with other members of the Security Council, seeking Moscow’s support in fixing the date of the elections on 24 December, as agreed by recent Security Council resolutions, since Berlin II and also the outcomes of the Paris conference. I stressed that the Libyan election laws must be implemented to the letter, with all their articles, and applied all candidates, and that no one is improperly excluded or improperly included. We must all respect the Libyan election laws.

RT: Do we understand from you that you will make a similar visit to capitals of other countries? Or is the focus here on the Russian role? May we also ask you about your vision for this role in resolving the Libyan crisis?

Nayed: The Russian role is very important, of course. I am in constant contact with the member states of the Security Council, the five countries, and there were contacts yesterday and the day before with some other countries too. But this visit is special because Russia has an active role in the Security Council and also has a presence on the ground, on discussions of the 5+5 Joint Military Committee, and we hope that all foreign forces, official and unofficial forces, will leave Libya, and hence the reason for this visit to Russia.

The exit of these forces must be simultaneous, balanced and gradual to ensure the safety of the Libyan lands and the independence and sovereignty of Libya on its land. At the same time there must be no disruption of the balance that resulted in the ceasefire and the great efforts of the 5+5 Joint Military Committee of patriotic Libyan officers, who were able to reach to a ceasefire and to lay a solid political groundwork for the elections.

RT: You mentioned the most important point that everyone focuses on, and perhaps everyone agrees on, which is the importance of holding the elections on time. Let’s talk about the course of preparations for this event, especially the initial announcement of the names of the candidates and some of the doubts that accompanied it, which created chaos, that might lead to the failure to hold the elections on time. Also, the warnings issued by the UN envoy Ján Kubiš, who has resigned, against holding the elections on time and the continuation of chaos and the continuation of the Libyan crisis, How do you see all these developments?

Nayed: There is no doubt that there is a clear Libyan will to hold the elections on time. This Libyan will has been expressed in many opinion polls and studies, as well as statements issued by parties, blocs, youth associations, women’s unions, as well as social and tribal councils. There is consensus that there will be Presidential and Parliamentary elections on time on 24 December. Yes there are challenges. The list that came out yesterday for the candidates was a disappointment for many Libyans because there are some candidates who were expelled from the list, and there are more than 25 names absent from the initial list of candidates, and this caused a lot of frustration.

Personally, I would have liked these elections to be comprehensive and inclusive of all Libyan trends, including the past regime, headed by Dr. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, as well as all other trends, Dignity (Al-Karama) Movement, the trends in western Libya. All trends should have been present and we should all refer to the ballot box according to Libyan laws. We don’t question the Election Commission and respect its opinion and rulings, but it seems that the Election Commission has transferred some important issues which fall under Article 12 to the judiciary, and left the matter to the appeals. This period is a period of legal appeals. Will we see some of the names  returned to the list? Will other names fall? It is not clear or obvious, and it will not be clear until the final list is issued.

RT: And what about the effects of all this on the Libyan street, particularly since you mentioned Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, as well as the application of Article 12 and talk about Dbaiba’s candidacy given that he did not submit his resignation from his position before the specified date, and also file of Khalifa Haftar and other candidates that have been accepted so far. Do you think that the reactions of their supporters might cause chaos in Libya, keeping it away from holding the elections on time?

Nayed: I think that the people’s confidence in the Libyan judiciary in general is good. I personally have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Libyan judiciary and I see that no one can influence it, neither with money nor with military or political pressure. The rulings of the judiciary will be in this period of appeals and the resumption of appeals, which God willing, will lead to the satisfaction of all the parties.

Of course, all the legal measures may not satisfy everyone, but we must appeal to the ballot box and to the elections, because we have no other solution in Libya. Cancellation or postponement of the elections may lead to massive armed chaos, may lead to new wars, and may lead to conflicts. There are statements of more than 12 social councils presented to the Paris Conference, in which they insist on the elections. We hope that this period will pass safely and that things will not be personalised. We must know that the interests of all trends must be represented, even if the representation is not in a particular person. We all turn to the Libyan judiciary and to the Libyan laws, but what bothers people is the feeling of unequal opportunities and unequal application of the law. Article 12 was very clear, whoever wanted to enter the Presidential elections had to resign from their position. Unfortunately, some personalities did not resign and at the same time insisted on entering the election, and this caused a kind of sense of unfairness or injustice, especially with the exclusion of some names, particularly the name of Dr. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

RT: Let’s focus a little on your programme. Can you tell me its broad outlines, the first decisions that will be taken regarding the Libyan interior, as well as the shape of international relations, especially in this great polarization that Libya is experiencing?

Nayed: We have an integrated vision called Ihya Libya (Reviving Libya), which is available on www.Ihyalibya.com. This vision was formed through many and varied sessions over the years by young Libyan women and men at the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS). This vision looks to the future on the basis that we reach a Libya that is radiant and has prestige, beauty and splendor. This vision is based on four pillars: a safe Libya with a state of law, a state with an independent judiciary, a state of security and safety with a unified army and police, and a unified border guard. Libya that is prosperous with a diversified economy, a sustainable economy, and a circular green economy, one in which small and medium enterprises for young people are the largest aspect. There is also a compassionate Libya where there is national reconciliation and tolerance, and mercy between Libyans. And finally a Libya that is clean from the corruption that is rampant now in the country, unfortunately, and which affects even political life and the elections. Libya should be free of this corruption that destroyed everything. It should be free of pollution, with a clean environment, and free from all causes of frustration and depression. A Libya that is confident in its future, builds a prosperous future, God willing.

RT: What about international relations?

Nayed: International relations must be balanced. We must have a good relationship with everyone. Libya has no time or energy to exhaust it in any kind of conflict. We must be reconciled with our environment and our surroundings, and be open to our Mediterranean, African, Arab and international circles. There must balance in international relations so that no country controls Libya. Libya should belong to the Libyans, and control and sovereignty belongs absolutely to the Libyans.

Interviewer : What are the challenges that could stand in the way of the application of this program?

Nayed: The most important element in this program is the element of national reconciliation, and the most important challenge is this feeling of injustice, unfairness and grievances that have accumulated over the past ten years. Unfortunately, there have been tortures, crimes and disasters, and it has occurred in Libya over a period of ten years. The most difficult challenge is the challenge of the social fabric, that has been torn apart over these ten years. This social fabric needs to be healed, it needs to be reconciled, and this will only happen through tolerance, love, compassion, and true national reconciliation based on compensation for harm and reparations. It is not only about financial compensation or trying to buy people’s anger with money. Libya needs real national reconciliation, and this is the biggest challenge. Perhaps in these elections, God willing, it may go well, so that we can turn a new page on reconciliation.

RT: This leads us to talk about the role of the Libyan citizen. What is required of the Libyan citizen, beginning with choosing his candidate who will become president for all Libyans after these elections, and also with regard to national reconciliation, what can the Libyan citizen offer, who is divided today between the opinion of the East and West, between Tripoli and Benghazi and other challenges?

Nayed: The Libyan citizen must have patience, tolerance, and openness of heart, and hope in God, and confidence in God, and not despair, or despair of God’s mercy. The Libyan citizen—men and women—have all proven that they are a true example of patience and steadfastness over very difficult years that made living difficult for Libyans. The collapse of the health sector, education, ongoing struggles within the political class, with the the most corrupt controlling chairs and refusing to hand over power in any form. All these torments must end. It will only end with the citizen.

RT: Do you think the ground is ready today for this change?

Nayed: Yes, look at the number of participants in these elections. Look at the number of Libyan men and women who registered in these elections and who received the electoral cards. These are all signs; the large number that applied for candidacy, whether for the Parliamentary or Presidential elections, are signs that Libyans want the elections. I have great hope in the Libyan people that they will see the candidates’ programs, and select the one who is the best for the country. I have great confidence in their decision, no matter what, and I believe that all candidates must trust the Libyan people and that they are able to make their future by choosing the right choice, God willing.

RT: The Libyan street seems fear reprisals, which have increased dramatically. There are those who talk about possible revenge against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, or anyone who holds a military ran who loses at the elections then resorting to armed opposition, all of which may lead to chaos. How realistic are such fears, and how can they be dealt with if they occur?

Nayed: First, the issue of revenge exists in all societies and is a natural thing in a person. But we must also not forget that the Libyan people have a very great and very deep heritage of tolerance and reconciliation. The notables of this country, the wise men of this country, and the sheikhs of its tribes, have great experience in reconciliation and compromise. Libyans are able to reconcile with each other, and they have great mechanisms for reconciliation in their heritage. There are countries like Rwanda where hundreds of thousands were killed and were able to reconcile. Like South Africa, grievances over many decades were able to be reconciled, countries that were able to build themselves out of nothing after nuclear attacks like Japan, and devastating wars like Germany. Libya has the ability, with the help of God Almighty, with our trust in God, our trust in each other, our compassion and cohesion, to build a new future. I am confident that this is possible, God willing.

RT: Are we to understand from you that the scenario of a possible division of Libya is exaggerated?

Nayed: The Libyans are unionists par excellence. Even those who demand decentralization and want to respect the historical regions, provinces and cities, do not mean that they want to divide Libya. All Libyans. I have never met Libyan separatists. All they want is for all cities, villages, hamlets and oases to be equal in their rights, for the rights of citizenship, and for the bounties of Libya to be a link uniting every Libyan everywhere, from the far south to the far north to the far east to the far west—and that all components be they Libyan Berbers, Tebu, Tuareg, Arabs and other components, everyone is respected because he is a citizen, a citizen under the rule of law.

I believe that the Libyans are unionists, and Libya will not secede with the help of God Almighty. These elections are very important because they are a historic opportunity. What is required by Libyans is that they go to the ballot boxes and give their say, and give their voice, to those they see capable, competent, and who have a clear vision for the future of Libya. This is required of all of us. We must not falter, we must not be discouraged, we must not allow the elections to be postponed or canceled under any circumstances—whatever the circumstances—and to trust the Election Commission, the Libyan judiciary, and to trust God Almighty, that we will come out of this crisis to a bright future, God willing.

Interviewer: You confirm the desire of Libyans to preserve the unity of Libya and also not to return to chaos.  What about international and regional interactions? We may talk, for example, about Turkey, which recently regained a major role in Libya. Do you think that accepting the loss of those who are affiliated with them, so to speak, and consequently losing the treaties that it legitimately signed with the government, may pass easily, and no problems will occur in Libya despite these facts?

Dr Aref: What I advise Turkey and all countries dealing with Libya is to bet on the Libyan people and on a good relationship with the Libyan people, not on a particular political class, or a particular group, or a particular ideology, or a particular party, or a particular person. All of these will not stand up to the deep historical relations that must be built over many decades. I advise all countries to trust the Libyan people and to let the Libyan people have the opportunity to choose whoever they want to rule as a president or to rule as a parliament, and to leave to this proud people to make Libya balanced in its relations with everyone, and the opportunity to make their own future. In my opinion, the real interests of Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and other countries are in a stable, united Libya, with a prosperous, multi and diversified economy, capable of cooperating economically in all fields. There is room for all these countries to participate in the reconstruction of Libya and to have balanced and respectful economic relations. Military hegemony, however, through mercenaries or military bases, is something that will not be accepted either from Turkey or from any other country, because Libya is an independent country on whose soil there should not be any foreign military, mercenaries or otherwise.

RT: When talking about the neighboring countries of Libya, and emphasizing the need for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, how can it be done in a way that does not harm neighboring countries. Do you have a specific plan in this regard?

Nayed: There are plans made by the heroic members of the 5+5 Joint Military Committee in Libya. We respect them and also the Egyptian role in the six meetings that took place in Egypt before the Geneva 5+5 meetings. We are counting on this unique military committee to be able to build lasting peace in Libya, while a unified Libyan army is being formed. We believe that an unified Libyan army with unified leadership from all parts of Libya is able to protect the Libyan homeland and the Libyan constitution, and protect the sanctity of Libya. This will enable Libya to have a balanced democratic life, in which there is a balance between an elected legislative authority, an elected executive authority, and a judicial authority on which we depend. We are in a difficult period at the moment, a period of appeals and petitions. We ask God Almighty to grant success to the judges of Libya in bringing the country to safety, and we ask all Libyans to participate actively and not to personalize our demands. Their demands can be fulfilled through other candidates, even if one person or another is excluded, or if we do not succeed in achieving what we want. We must put the interest of Libya above all of us, and let us all be satisfied with the election results.

RT: Who do you think has the most chances, among the list of candidates, to succeed in bringing Libyans together as well as all the countries that have a major role in Libyan today?

Nayed: The one who has the best chances of succeeding is the one who will be able, during the electoral campaign period, to convince the Libyans of their vision, their program, and their social contacts that can remove this great rift that occurred in Libya—restore hope to Libya, and restore security and safety to Libya. It is too early to predict the results of these elections. We still do not know what the final list of candidates will be, and we do not know what the various candidates will present during this period. It is a short period and will be full of events, debates and program presentations. The beautiful thing is that it is a great honor to participate in them regardless of the results, and we must all respect these elections and respect the will of the Libyan people, no matter what this will and whatever the results.

© ALMARSAD ENGLISH (2021)