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Algeria hopes to play 'effective role' in Libya after ministerial meeting, analysts say

Algeria's foreign minister Sabri Boukadoum meets with officials from Libya's parallel eastern government, in the coastal city of Benghazi in eastern Libya, on 5 February 2020, during a visit to discuss Algiers' efforts for a political solution to the Libyan conflict. [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP via Getty Images]
Algeria's foreign minister Sabri Boukadoum meets with officials from Libya's parallel eastern government, in the coastal city of Benghazi in eastern Libya, on 5 February 2020 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP via Getty Images]

Algeria's announcement that it is hosting a ministerial meeting in the presence of the foreign ministers of Libya's neighbouring countries at the end of the month has raised some questions about the summit's objectives and how it could be linked to the upcoming elections and those standing in them.

Algeria will host a meeting to discuss the Libya file on 30-31 August, with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Chad, and Niger in attendance along with representatives of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the African Union (AU), with the aim of helping Libya find a peaceful political solution to its crisis.

According to observers, the meeting aims to exert pressure on the National Unity Government (GNU) and the Libyan Presidential Council to hold the elections on time at the end of December.

Mohamed Al-Hadi, member of the Libyan High Council of State, said: "The Algerian role has begun to crystallize and become more active after Haftar's expansion on the Libyan border with Tunisia, especially since the commander of the eastern forces is supported by Egypt, which disagrees with Algeria regarding the Libyan file."

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"Algeria is now trying to play an effective and strong role in the Libyan file," he added. "This step is considered to be positive, although it came late. I believe that the goal is to ensure a strong presence in Libya to achieve a balance with other countries, as they are not very concerned with supporting the peaceful transition of power in Libya by supporting the elections, given the fact that most of the initiatives proposed by Algiers are weak and ineffective."

Khairy Omar, who is Egyptian academic specialising in Libyan affairs, stressed that the scheduled meeting "indicates the convergence of views between Algeria and Egypt regarding the Libyan file; and this consensus between the two countries will support the course of the upcoming elections and the arrival of new personalities to power."

"All political parties and potential candidates will be addressed," Omar explained, adding "and most importantly, consensus on the peaceful transfer of power."

Moussa Tehusai, a journalist from the south of Libya, pointed out that "Algeria is highly sensitive to what is happening in Tunisia now, in addition to the growing role of Haftar in the south near its borders, which makes it willing to seek to limit the impact of these two issues."

"Algeria is trying to restore its natural role regarding the Libyan file, as it remained away from this issue for years and has not played any effective role."

This meeting, he explained, "comes within this framework."

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AfricaAfrican UnionAlgeriaChadEgyptInternational OrganisationsLibyaNewsNigerSudanTunisiaUN
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