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African Union unveils new Libya peace initiative

November 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

The African Union on Tuesday announced a new initiative aimed at fostering “all-inclusive” political dialogue in Libya with a view to reaching a negotiated settlement between the North African country’s various political factions.

The initiative was unveiled at a meeting of the AU’s High-Level Committee on Libya, which was held at the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The meeting was convened by AU Chairman and Chadian President Idriss Déby to review the current situation in Libya and agree on a way forward.

Members of the AU’s High-Level Committee of Heads of States and Government on the Situation in Libya include: Algeria, the Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Mauritania (Chair), Niger, South Africa and Uganda.

Among the heads of state attending the meeting were Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn; Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir; Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou; Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso; South African President Jacob Zuma; and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

At the meeting, Déby said that, one year since the formation of Libya’s UN-backed unity government, “deep differences continue to exist”.

“There are different groups in Libya with divergent, if not contradictory, interests,” he said.

According to Déby, the unity government — and the future of Libya — had been compromised by different interpretations of the 2015 agreement that brought the government into being; the advent of the Daesh terrorist group; and the scourge of human trafficking.

The situation, he went on to assert, required better coordination and “all-inclusive dialogue” aimed at revitalizing Libya’s flagging peace process.

“It is an initiative to kickstart a tripartite approach — Libyan political actors, the AU and the UN — to work together to help Libyans achieve a solid transition,” he said.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for her part, chairperson of the AU Commission, noted that some 2.4 million Libyans were in need of humanitarian assistance, while national oil production was at a record low and the country was faced with a massive budget deficit and the wholesale destruction of infrastructure.