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Egypt welcomes election of Libyan interim government ahead of end-year elections: Foreign ministry

Hafez said Cairo was looking forward to working with the interim government in the coming period and until the transfer of power to an elected government after planned elections slated on 24 December

Menna Alaa El-Din , Friday 5 Feb 2021
Egypt
File Photo: Egypt's foreign ministry
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Egypt has welcomed the outcome of a UN-sponsored voting that led to the selection of a Libyan interim government with the hope of ending a decade-long civil-war in the North African country through planned national elections later this year.

In an official statement, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said Cairo welcomed the outcome of the vote on selecting the executive power by Libyan delegates during the UN-hosted process, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, in Geneva.

Hafez said Cairo was looking forward to working with the interim government in the coming period and until the transfer of power to an elected government after planned elections slated on 24 December.

The spokesman also praised efforts by the UN in sponsoring the political process in Libya, calling on all Libyans to continue upholding their country’s best interest.

Oil-rich Libya has been torn apart by civil war since the NATO-backed uprising that ousted long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, with an array of militias filling the vacuum and civilian bodies struggling to impose their authority.

Since 2015, Libya has been torn between warring administrations, one in the east and one in the west, both backed by different foreign powers. A fragile ceasefire between the two sides, agreed in Geneva last October, has largely held.

“We call on regional and international parties to support the peaceful path towards a reconciliation of the crisis to contribute in restoring stability in Libya, curb foreign interferences in [domestic] affairs and the exit of foreign fighters,” Hafez said.

The statement comes hours after Libyan delegates from rival factions selected four leaders to guide the country until the elections in December.

The 74 delegates chose a list of candidates during the Geneva hosted talks, with Mohammad Younes Menfi, a Libyan diplomat backed by the country’s east, chosen to head the three-member Presidential Council.

Meanwhile, Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, an influential businessman supported by tribes in the west, was chosen as interim prime minister.

Menfi’s list selection came following a runoff after none of the four lists initially proposed were able to secure the 60% of votes from delegates in the first round.

The election of Menfi comes a few weeks after Libyan envoys at UN-backed talks in Egypt’s Red Sea city of Hurghada agreed to hold a constitutional referendum before the elections in December.

New talks will be held in Egypt in February with a view to settling the "road map for the referendum and elections," according to an earlier statement by Egypt’s foreign ministry.

Egypt has been pushing for a political settlement in Libya for years, calling for a ceasefire, a complete disarming of militias, an end to foreign intervention in the country, as well as a fair distribution of wealth betwen various regions in the country.

In June, Egypt proposed a peace initiative dubbed the Cairo Declaration, which was based on the conclusion of an earlier Berlin conference. The Cairo Declaration proposed a ceasefire as well as the election of a new leadership council.

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