Libya's capital Tripoli shows a view of vehicles destroyed during fighting between forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah and rival forces of the Tobruk-based government, after the latter forces withdrew, taken on on May 17, 2022. AFP
The statement also reiterated the need to maintain calm in Libya and to preserve the lives, property, and capabilities of the Libyan people, as tensions between rival powers in the Libyan capital escalate.
Clashes erupted on Tuesday when Libyan parliament-backed Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha’s press service announced “the arrival of the prime minister of the Libyan government, accompanied by several ministers, in the capital Tripoli to begin his work.”
This came shortly before another statement that announced the retreat of the prime minister and his entourage from the western city of Tripoli, citing the “security and safety of citizens,” as the UN and EU launched urgent appeals for calm.
Ahmed Hafez — the spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry — stressed in the statement the inevitability of dialogue with the aim of concluding the presidential and legislative elections in Libya simultaneously and without delay, according to the statement.
In February, the east-based parliament appointed Bashagha as prime minister-designate to replace Tripoli-based prime minister Abdul-Hamid Al-Dbeibah, who failed to hold the country’s presidential elections in December.
The east-based parliament’s decision reignited differences between the east and west as Al-Dbeibah, who was chosen as interim PM last year through a UN-sponsored process and is still recognised by the High Council of State, has remained defiant against the decision.
The spokesperson also emphasised the importance of the constitutional path dialogue currently taking place in Cairo, which seeks to achieve the aspirations and hopes of the brotherly Libyan people in moving towards the future at a steady pace.
Rival Libyan powers and officials began a new round of United Nations-sponsored talks in Cairo on Sunday on the disputed constitutional arrangements for the country’s long-awaited elections.
The first round was held over a week in April in Cairo, where both sides agreed to pursue efforts to draw up a constitutional and legislative framework for holding presidential and parliamentary elections at the earliest opportunity.
The second round of talks — which started on Sunday — brought together the newly-formed Constitutional Track Committee, which comprises representatives of Libya’s two rival parliamentary chambers — the country’s eastern-based parliament in Tobruk and the western-based High Council of State in Tripoli.
This round is a new bid to end the split between the eastern and western camps after the adjournment of the presidential elections that were originally slated for December 2021 over differences between rival factions on laws governing the elections and the eligibility of presidential candidates.