Egypt withdraws from 158th session of Arab League Council

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Sep 2022

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his accompanying delegation have withdrawn from the opening meeting of the 158th ordinary session of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level, which is being held in Cairo on Tuesday.

Arab League foreign ministers meet
Arab League foreign ministers meet during an annual meeting in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. AP

The reason for the withdrawal was the assumption of Najla Al-Mangoush, the Libyan foreign minister in the outgoing government of Abdul Hamid Dabaiba, the presidency of the 158th session, MENA quoted Ahmed Abu Zeid, official spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as saying.

Abu Zeid revealed that this topic has been discussed in the consultative meeting of Arab foreign ministers before the start of the official session, adding that “we have to wait for the outcomes of the Council's meetings throughout the day in this regard.”

The 158th ordinary session of the Arab Foreign Ministers Council is being held at the Arab League (AL) General Secretariat headquarters in the Egyptian capital under the chairmanship of Libya, which succeeded Lebanon.

Ahead of today's session, Libya's parliament-appointed Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha, who is vying with Dbeibah for control of the North African country, issued a statement rejecting the presidency of the session by a Dbeibah government minister.

Dbeibah's administration was installed in the capital in February 2021 as part of a United Nations-led peace process, with a mandate to oversee the faltered national elections in December 2021.

After the collapse of the election process due to disagreement on the rules for the vote and candidacy process earlier this year, Libya's eastern-based parliament declared Dbeibah's government illegal and appointed Bashagha.

So far, Dbeibah's administration has prevented Bashagha from taking office, arguing that the next administration should be the product of elections.

Last month, tensions and clashes erupted between backers of the two administrations, with at least 32 people reported killed in an incident that sparked fears of a major new conflict.

At the time, Egypt called on all Libyan parties, national forces and social components to end escalation, prioritise dialogue and to practice restraint in order to avoid bloodshed.

On Monday, Egypt welcomed the appointment of former Senegalese minister and UN diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily as the new special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The previous UNSMIL head, Jan Kubis, served for 10 months, stepping down in November 2021.

Libya was plunged into chaos following the 2011 overthrow and killing of president Muammar Gaddafi in a Western-backed uprising, with myriad-armed groups and foreign powers moving to fill the power vacuum.

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