Shoukry urges ‘specific timeframes’ for legal, political entitlements in Libya at meeting with UNSMIL head

Ahram Online , Monday 28 Nov 2022

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has urged for “specific timeframes” to proceed with the legal and political entitlements in Libya, including the full exit of mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libyan lands.

Egyptian Foregin Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks to Abdullah Bathili, the recently appointed special representative of the UN secretary-general and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), during a meeting in Cairo Monday (Photo coutesy of the Egyptian foreign affairs ministry)

“No way to implement the existing agreements, and adhere to legal and political entitlements, without specific mechanisms and timeframes,” Shoukry told Abdullah Bathili, the recently appointed special representative of the UN secretary-general and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), during a meeting in Cairo Monday.

Shoukry underscored the necessity of running presidential and legislative elections synchronously to end the stalemate and realise the aspirations of the Libyan people based on an intra-Libyan solution and respect for the elected legislative body.

Egypt’s top diplomat also called for “an active follow-up” by the international community on the parties in charge of implementation, according to a statement released by the Egyptian foreign ministry following the meeting.

The UN and international decisions in respect of the exit of all foreign forces, mercenaries, and foreign fighters from Libya should be implemented within a specific timeframe, Shoukry stressed, urging support for the 5 + 5 Joint Military Committee.

Libya's 5+5 Joint Military Committee, formed in 2020, was one of three tracks in the UN-backed settlement process meant to ensure the withdrawal of all foreign fighters who have been brought by different foreign powers supporting the east and west camps.

Bathili, who is on his first visit to Egypt since his appointment, expressed his appreciation for “the constructive and pivotal role that Egypt plays in Libya, [and for] what Egypt had to endure over the past years as a result of the continuation of this crisis.”

In today’s meeting, UN Secretary-general representative Bathili reviewed with Shoukry his efforts and contacts in Libya, expressing his keenness to speak with all parties.

He also said that he looks forward to further coordination with Cairo to push forward the Libyan-Libyan political solution to achieve security, stability in Egypt’s western neighbour.

Rift between Libya's east and west and Egypt's reconciliation efforts

In early 2021, an interim government headed by Abdul-Hamid Al-Dbeibah was established as part of the UN tracks to guide the country towards the December 2021 elections.

The long-awaited Libyan national elections ended up being suspended over differences between both competing administrations in the east and west of the country.

In February 2022, the east-based parliament appointed Fathi Bashagha as prime minister-designate to replace Tripoli-based Al-Dbeibah, arguing that Al-Dbeibah's mandate expired after the faltering of the scheduled elections.

Owing to the east-based parliament’s decision, differences arose between the east and west, with the west, represented by the High Council of State in Tripoli, backing Al-Dbeibah whose authority it still recognises.

As a result, Al-Dbeibah refuses to yield his powers to Bashagha.  

Egypt has hosted several rounds of talks of the Libyan Constitutional Track Committee -- which comprises representatives of Libya's two rival parliamentary chambers -- to reach a consensus on the Libyan draft constitution.

 It has also hosted several rounds of talks between the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission to unify Libya’s Armed Forces.


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