Libya's constitutional committee resumes UN-sponsored talks in Cairo

Ahram Online , Monday 16 May 2022

Rival Libyan officials continued on Monday for the second day a new round of United Nations-sponsored talks in Cairo on the disputed constitutional arrangements for the country’s long-awaited elections.

File Photo: UN s Stephanie Williams delivers remarks at the opening of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in February 2021 near Geneva. AFP


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.

The first round was held over a week in April in Cairo, where both sides agreed on pursuing efforts to draw up a constitutional and legislative framework for holding presidential and parliamentary elections at the earliest opportunity.

This round is a new bid to end the split between the eastern and western camps after the adjournment of the presidential elections, originally slated for December 2021, over differences between rival factions on laws governing the elections and the eligibility of presidential candidates.

In February, the east-based parliament appointed Fathi 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 has 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.

During April's meetings, UN Adviser on Libya Stephanie Williams said parliament and the High Council of State are both responsible for the constitutional path in the country and have to shoulder responsibility to achieve a comprehensive solution to the crisis.

Libya had descended into turmoil and violence following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi and divided the country into two camps.

In recent months, Egypt has hosted a set of meetings to bridge the gap between various Libyan parties and foster dialogue.

Cairo has since been pushing for a political settlement in its western neighbor, the disarming of militias, and an end to foreign intervention in the country.

Egypt hosted several meetings for Libya’s Constitutional Committee in the Red Sea city of Hurghada, the last of which was in February 2021 to discuss resolving the political crisis in the country and coordinate on key security issues.

It also hosted a meeting in October for Libya’s 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) to discuss plans to remove foreign mercenaries and troops from Libyan lands.

During the UN-sponsored meeting, the JMC agreed with representatives from neighbouring countries – Sudan, Chad, and Niger – to "fully" cooperate to ensure the exit of all foreign fighters belonging to their countries from Libyan territories.


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