World leaders bolster troubled Libya ahead of key election
PARIS (AP) — France is hosting an international conference on Libya on Friday as the North African country heads into long-awaited elections next month, a vote that regional and world powers hope will pull the oil-rich nation out of its decade-old chaos. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and several world leaders will take part in the Paris conference, and are expected to push for transparent, credible elections. They will also urge the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces from Libya, as stated in last year’s U.N.-brokered cease-fire that ended fighting between rival factions in the country.
It has been a decade since one of the largest mass expressions of frustration, the Arab Spring, rocked foundations across the Middle East and North Africa. In the decade since, the path forward has not always been direct or clear.
I had the privilege of leading Tunisia as prime minister for more than three years. It was a challenging but rewarding time. In my efforts to help build a sustainable democracy in Tunisia, I knew that reliable neighbors were essential. I was particularly concerned about the state of Libya, our neighbor. I knew then, and I feel even more strongly now, that a stable and prosperous Libya is important for the Libyan people and the broader region.
Libya: 300 mercenaries left the country, Macron calls Turkey and Russia to withdraw the "without delay"
Following the 2011 revolution and for far too long, Libya has been used as a tool for destabilization and a breeding ground for radical ideologues pushing division, violence and terrorism. The trade routes that once benefited both our countries were essentially cut off. Sadly, aspirations for democratic self-determination in Libya were stymied or squashed against the wishes of the people, fueling a cycle of hopelessness, distrust and apathy.
Today, only a stable, prosperous and democratic Libya can help to counter this trend of despair and instead inspire hope. A new future is within reach in Libya following U.N.-sponsored talks in Geneva. Democratic elections are set for Dec. 24. These elections must proceed and must succeed. And for that I believe that there's an urgent need to focus on the Libyan national reconciliation and the quest of consensus within the Libyan political class before the election. This will help to avoid having the election be contested or not recognized. The ultimate goal is to create a true democracy in Libya and not a democracy by name only—which provides nothing—a part constitutional deadlock. Democracy needs content to survive and evolve.
Son of former Libyan ruler Gadhafi runs for president
As a chief of government, I worked hard to facilitate mobility between the two countries. Millions of people used to cross the borders and trade between Tunisia and Libya was flourishing. Nowadays and following the COVID-19 outbreak, the borders with Libya's neighbors, including Tunisia, are beginning to reopen. What's more, regional cooperation is beginning again. Recently, the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission held a meeting in Egypt for the U.N. mission and representatives of Libyan neighbors including Sudan, Chad and Niger to discuss the process of removing foreign fighters from Libyan territories. This is significant. It is clear that Libya, and the region, is focused on creating conditions that favor peace and stability.
A democratic Libya would benefit all its neighbors, from those who share its borders to those across the Mediterranean. Libya's close proximity to Spain, France, Italy and Greece provides an opportunity to reset immigration trends, with a focus on legal, safe and ethical treatment and processing of migrants. Only through a stable and prosperous Libya will there be enough resources and political will to meet this moment. Not only will a stable Libya protect the rights of migrants, but it will also help reduce the elevated level of immigration from North Africa, as Libya becomes an increasingly desirable place to live and work.
Gadhafi's son declares candidacy for president of Libya
Seif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, announced on Sunday that he is running for president of Libya in next month's scheduled election.Seif al-Islam, 49, presented paperwork affirming his candidacy in the town of Sabha, located roughly 400 miles south of the capitol Tripoli, according to a statement from the High National Elections Commission, cited by The Associated Press.The son of the former Libyan dictator is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on accusations of crimes against humanity connected to the beginning weeks of the 2011 civil war.
There is no denying that climate change is upon us, and the constraints from extreme weather events are only growing. Libya is in a unique position, one where we can capitalize on old forms of energy production while investing heavily in new renewable forms of production. With incredible potential for solar and wind power generation, Libya is poised to be a valued energy partner to Europe, especially as it has to deal with an increasingly untrustworthy supplier to the European Union's east. Libya has the capabilities to address both short-term needs while advancing future forms of energy production—but that can only be unlocked by a democratic reunification of Libya. Without a democratic republic, accountability is unlikely, and Libya's economic engines will continue to only serve a minority.
The message a democratic Libya would send to the world's oppressed people cannot be overstated. It would lift up the voiceless, empower the people and show an alternative to violence—creating the environment to de-radicalize individuals and inspire others throughout the region to build their own democratic state. Through unlocking the aspirations of the people, Libya, and in time the region, will build a new age of prosperity and engagement.
East Libya strongman Haftar says to run for president
The strongman in the east of war-scarred Libya, Khalifa Haftar, said Tuesday he would run for president in a December 24 election that is also set to be contested by a son of former dictator Moamer Kadhafi. His announcement comes two days after the candidacy of Seif al-Islam Kadhafi -- the son of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi -- who has been accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Both are controversial figures. Haftar, backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, is despised by many in western Libya and has been accused of seeking to establish a military dictatorship.
Finally, a stable Libya provides a buttress against foreign influence in the region. Some countries see their foreign policy best served by keeping countries in the Middle East and North Africa weak, fractious and easily influenced—but these conditions are not advantageous to any other good-faith actor in the region. Building regional resilience is vitally necessary to prevent these influences from growing.
As I said when I was prime minister, when democracy flourishes in Libya, so too will stability, transparency and accountability throughout the region. With a stable economy and a strengthened private sector, Libya will be able to engage on equal footing with European and African partners like Tunisia, set an example to others in the region and build hope for the future. A stable Libya will have the capability to not only defend but advance human rights, build prosperity and be an engine for positive development across the region well into the future. That's why Libya's stability is about more than Libya.
Youssef Chahed is the former prime minister of Tunisia.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.
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U.N. warns not holding Libya elections could fuel further conflict .
U.N. warns not holding Libya elections could fuel further conflictUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -Outgoing United Nations Libya mediator Jan Kubis warned on Wednesday that not holding planned elections in the country could "greatly deteriorate" the situation and lead to further division and conflict.