Libya needs elections, says Algeria's president

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Jul 2020

FILE PHOTO: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune speaks in Algiers, Algeria June 20, 2017. REUTERS
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Saturday that Libya must organise elections through its transitional authorities as a political solution to its ongoing conflict.
Speaking to France 24 on Saturday, Tebboune said that "we need to consult with the Libyan people through its institutions," including tribal ones and others, and hold elections.  
"The current government is one of these establishments, but things have surpassed it. We have to present institutions that represent all Libyans, hold elections and elect a president and vice president, putting into consideration a balance between all Libyan regions and the adoption of a new constitution," Tebboune argued.
 The Algerian head of state also said he was ready to arrange a dialogue between the different Libyan parties should they request it.
He explained that, while talking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the Berlin Libyan Conference earlier this year, he promised not to take "any personal initiative" outside the framework of the political event.
Tebboune said that Algeria has relations with all Libyan parties and contacts them regularly. 
We stand at the same distance from all Libyan parties and we will not back one of them against the other, Tebboune stressed, adding that "we still have not lost hope" of settling the conflict.
"We have close visions on Libya with President [Emmanuel] Macron and our Italian friends. Other actors understand that fighting back and forth between armies is not the solution," said Tebboune.
"Who loses today wins tomorrow, and so on, but this is not the solution and it will not offer anything. To take a group of people that includes five from here and five from there is not also a solution."
Tebboune warned that Libya might follow the "Syrian model" and clarified that he spoke with Macron on this issue. Tebboune said that, four months ago in Berlin, he said that "we can count on the basis of popular legitimacy to rebuild the state [Libya]" if no ceasefire was reached.
He described the "Syrian model" in Libya" as a "danger," praising the Libyan tribes for "luckily being wise".
"The same approaches that we saw in Syria are not seen in Libya. Unlike what many people might think, mercenaries and others were those who committed violations. But if the tribes are fed up, they will start arming and protecting themselves," he warned.
In that case, Tebboune said, Libya would not follow the Syrian model, but the Somalian one instead. "No one would be able to do anything at that point in time," he stated.
"The country could turn into a haven for terrorists, and everyone, seeking to clean their countries, will send their terrorists to Libya," he added.
Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in Tripoli, is backed by Turkish troops and thousands of Syrian mercenaries in its war against the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and its leader Khalifa Haftar.
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