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Ghannouchi: Neutrality in Libya is senseless

Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rashid Al Ghannouchi attends the 4th congress of Nahda movement student branches at Tunisia University in Tunis, Tunisia on 18 January 2020. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rashid Al Ghannouchi attends the 4th congress of Nahda movement student branches at Tunisia University in Tunis, Tunisia on 18 January 2020 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

"Duty and necessity" force Libya's neighbours to take action and they "cannot be indifferent" while the country remains in unrest, Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi stressed yesterday.

In an interview with the Anadolu Agency, Ghannouchi said: "In the midst of events in Libya, the neighbouring countries cannot be indifferent. If a fire breaks out in your neighbour's house, you cannot stay neutral. Duty and necessity will urge you to help him to extinguish the fire, so is this case in which negative neutrality is meaningless."

He continued: "We call for positive neutrality based on pushing all parties toward a political and peaceful solution (…). Our vision is that a political solution in Libya is the most viable way to overcome insecurity and chaos."

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Regarding some Tunisian opposition parties who refuse to communicate with the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, Ghannouchi stressed that his communication "did not go beyond the scope of Tunisian diplomacy".

He explained that the Tunisian authorities and President Kais Saied are in contact with the Al-Sarraj government because it is "the representative of sovereignty according to international legitimacy. We had previously met with Aguila Saleh, the representative [president] of the Tobruk parliament [eastern Libya], which might be considered as positive neutrality."

"We share with Libya the values of brotherhood, cooperation, peace and good neighbourliness. Therefore, we work and communicate according to this vision."

He added: "Those who protest against our communication with Libya are proposing a substitute for legitimacy, such as contacting unrecognised organisations, which does not serve the interests of the Tunisian state and its people."

"There is no independent country that is not affected by its surroundings. With regard to Libya, Tunisia is directly and deeply affected by what is happening in its sister country, Libya."

He added: "We have long common borders with Libya, trade exchange and economic and social ties. Tunisian security and economy are affected by what is happening in its neighbour Libya. Therefore, Libyan security is affected by its Tunisian counterpart and vice versa."

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The President of the Tunisian Parliament expressed his hope that "the people of Libya will resort to dialogue and accept coexistence and overcome exclusion."

Since the ouster of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Brigadier General Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA) and is supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

With the support of Arab and European countries, Haftar launched an attack to capture Tripoli. One year on he has suffered large losses and has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians.

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