By Hannatu Sadiq
World powers have met in Germany to work out lasting peace in Libya by ensuring the conflict-ridden North African country maintains stability on the path towards general elections on December 24.
The United Nations-sponsored talks in Berlin was attended by representatives of Libya’s interim government, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken as well as other foreign ministers of France and Egypt.
The effort to end a decade-long spiral of violence in Libya is the second round. The first round was attended by the presidents of Turkey, Russia and France in January 2020.
It is crucial that Libya holds a national election in December as the only way to ensure peace and stability in the North African country, Blinken said.
“We share the goal of a sovereign, stable, unified and secure Libya, free from foreign interference. For this to happen national elections need to go forward in December. That means urgent agreement is needed on constitutional and legal issues,” he said.
Ahead of Wednesday’s talks, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reminded participants of pledges made last year for an end to international meddling and for foreign fighters or troops to withdraw.
“Those who promised to withdraw last time in Berlin have not kept their word,” said Maas in an interview with Die Welt daily.
“For the Libyans to determine the fate of their country again, the foreign forces must leave. The transitional government has also made that clear,” he stressed.
The UN estimates 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries are still in Libya – a presence seen as a threat to the UN-recognised transition leading to the elections.
Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The country was subsequently split between the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital, Tripoli, and a rival administration based in the country’s east, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.