Holding elections only way to settle current situation in Libya: Sisi, Menfi

Amr Kandil , Monday 4 Jul 2022

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Head of Libya’s Presidential Council Mohamed Al-Menfi have affirmed that holding elections is the only way to settle the current situation in the country, Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady said in a statement.

Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (R) and Head of Libya s Presidency Council Mohamed Al-Menfi (L). File photos


This is in addition to expelling all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libyan territories to ensure the implementation of a political settlement in the country, the two sides affirmed in a phone call on Monday.

The two leaders also agreed that a solution to the Libyan crisis has to stem from the Libyan people themselves.

Furthermore, El-Sisi said Egypt will continue to spare no effort to provide all forms of support to Libya so that the country may achieve national reconciliation and end all political quarrels, the statement added.

For his part, Al-Menfi hailed the efforts led by El-Sisi to support Libya, especially by contributing to restoring national institutions, unifying the Libyan National Army, and transferring Egyptian development experience to Libya.

He also expressed appreciation for Egypt’s sincere support to Libya as an extension to the brotherly relations binding the two countries together, the statement said.

Libya has been embroiled in a series of angry protests over the past few days, with hundreds voicing their frustration with the political class and deteriorating economic conditions.

The protests came a day after the leaders of the Libyan Parliament and another legislative chamber based in Tripoli failed to reach an agreement on Thursday regarding holding the elections during UN-mediated talks in Geneva.

A week ago, talks were held in Cairo between the Tripoli-based High Council and the eastern-based House of Representatives (HoR) in an attempt to agree on a constitutional basis for a vote, however, they also ended without a breakthrough.

The presidential and parliamentary elections, which were originally scheduled for December of last year, were meant to cap a UN-led peace process following the end of the last major round of violence in 2020.

However, the elections never took place due to several contentious candidacies and deep disagreements between rival power centres in the east and west of the country over the polls’ legal basis.

In a press conference on Sunday, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said the recent tension in Libya is a sign that a big segment of the Libyan people is dissatisfied with the continuity of the crisis there and the suspensions of the political and electoral track.

Furthermore, Shoukry said Egypt supported the UN mediated Libyan national dialogue — which brought together the country’s two rival camps — and the decisions made then, but such decisions are now inapplicable after delaying past the agreed-upon timeframe.

“The timeframe should have been met and respected,” Shoukry told reporters during the conference.

Over the past years, Egypt has worked along with Libyan officials to help find a political settlement to the longstanding crisis in its western neighbour and to restore order in the country by holding elections.

Egypt has also hosted a set of meetings to bridge the gap between various Libyan parties and to foster dialogue.

In June, Cairo hosted the latest round of talks between the rival eastern and western military powers — also known as the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission — to unify Libya’s Armed Forces and provide an opportunity for the Libyan Constitutional Track Committee to reach a consensus on the Libyan draft constitution.

However, political tensions have heightened in Libya since the country’s east based HoR withdrew its confidence in February from the Government of National Unity (GNU) that is headed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah after it failed to hold the presidential elections.

The HoR then formed a new government headed by Fathi Bashagha, a step that Egypt — which has repeatedly called for holding Libyan elections on time — has welcomed. However, Dbeibah has refused to cede power except to an elected government.

Last May, Cairo held intensive talks with Libyan and international parties to prevent possible military escalation in Tripoli after clashes erupted between armed factions when Bashagha entered the capital in an attempt to seat his government.

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