France s President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) pose for a photograph prior their working lunch in the framework of the International Conference for Libya, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris on November 12, 2021. AFP
“Our meeting today comes at a time when the situation in Libya is moving toward what is better - as the political process is passing through a decisive stage that aims to crown the international and regional efforts by holding elections on their scheduled date in December,” the Egyptian president told regional and international leaders in Paris.
The Paris conference is being organised by the United Nations, with the participation of regional and world leaders, as the North African country is heading into the long-awaited elections on 24 December.
The participants in the conference include French President Macron; Libya's Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbeibah; and the Head of Libya's Presidential Council, Mohamed Menfi.
They also include Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi; the UN envoy to Libya Ján Kubiš; and the US Vice President Kamala Harris.
El-Sisi expressed in his speech to the conference his hope that the long-awaited Libyan elections are carried out successfully in a way that “befits the deep-rootedness of the brotherly Libyan people,” and allows their country to restore its active Arab and regional role.
"Holding the elections will enable our Libyan brothers to express their free will and derail the efforts of those who wish to jump over this entitlement in pursuit of narrow goals that are far removed from the supreme interests of Libya."
"If we do not pay attention, this could lead to the outbreak of public fury that can lead us back to to square one, which we don't wish to happen,” the Egyptian president warned.
He praised the measures taken by the Libyan Presidential Council and the Government of National Unity (GNU) to prepare for elections.
He also praised the "great efforts" of the Libyan Parliament and coordination with Libya’s High Electoral Commission to hold the polls.
Binding timeframe for ending foreign military presence
The Egyptian president urged the Paris conference to set a “clear and binding timeframe” for the exit of all foreign troops and fighters from the country, as well as all mercenaries who entered Libya after 2011.
He also urged agreement among the participants in the conference on mechanisms and guarantees to implement the decisions reached on the issue of the exit of foreign troops and fighters.
El-Sisi also commended the “sincere and patriotic” endeavours of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) to implement its plans towards freeing Libya from foreign troops.
The conference’s position “should be clear and unambiguous in rejecting the continuation of the status quo. "
"It should condemn the continued violation of international decisions on the necessity of ending all forms of foreign military presence in Libya,” El-Sisi said.
“This should be done in order to prevent matters from sliding backwards in a way similar to what happened in many previous stages,” he stressed.
The presence of foreign troops and mercenaries on the Libyan territories violates the UN Security Council’s decisions 2570-2571 and the conclusions of the Berlin 2 Conference, which were agreed upon regionally and internationally, El-Sisi said.
The foreign military presence in Libya also violates the decisions of the Arab League, the African Union, and neighbouring countries on the necessity of withdrawing all foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya “without any exceptions or further stalling."
“Libya cannot restore its sovereignty, unity, and the desired stability without seriously dealing with the main issue obstructing this: the presence of foreign forces, mercenaries, and foreign troops on its soil,” El-Sisi affirmed.
Egyptian support to a unified, free Libya
El-Sisi urged Libyan people to “dismiss from your country every foreigner and intruder, no matter how much they claim that their presence is good for you."
The Egyptian president affirmed Egypt’s readiness to provide all forms of support to Libya to implement the plan of the JMC to end the presence of foreign troops on Libyan soil, unify state institutions, and build capacities so that Libyans “can reclaim their resources and be able to decide their fate and chart their future.”
"Rise to the occasion"
He urged all actors inside and outside Libya to "rise to the occasion" and "act responsibly and rationally” in a way that helps Libya get through its crisis and end its people’s suffering.
El-Sisi warned against some “attempts by parties inside and outside Libya to undermine any progress regarding this path under false pretexts."
El-Sisi said those parties should “drop their aspirations of expansion; imposing their influence; and tampering with the resources and security of others."
They should also stop “the policy of imposing a fait accompli using military or physical force; providing safe havens or any other form of support to terrorist and extremist groups; and transferring their elements from one country to another,” El-Sisi added.