A meeting on Libya held not in Berlin or New York but, for the first time, in Tripoli
An international conference on the future of Libya is taking place today in Tripoli, initiated by the country’s Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush. It is the first event of this scale and significance to be held in Libya. The process to date has been heavily supported by the United Nations in cooperation with Germany, which organised the two Berlin Conferences on Libya. Minister of State Annen commented before leaving Berlin:
By hosting the Libya Conference in Tripoli, the country is demonstrating once again that it is taking its fate back into its own hands. This is something we expressly support; moreover, we strongly urge that foreign fighters be withdrawn from the country and that the national elections be held as scheduled.
The conference comes at an important time, with elections set to be held in Libya two months from now. The focus of the conference will therefore be on preparations for these elections in December, the overdue security sector reform and the much-needed withdrawal of all foreign fighters. The 5+5 Joint Military Committee has recently agreed on a withdrawal plan, which is also set to be presented at the conference.
Why are the elections important?
The elections are a crucial component of the peace process and an express demand on the part of Libyan civil society. Only through elections can Libya once again form a democratically mandated government and, crucially, one that is recognised nationwide, for the first time since 2014. This is essential for the reconciliation of all parts of the country and all groups within the population. It is now important, therefore, to rapidly make all necessary preparations to enable free and fair elections to take place.
Why is the issue of security important?
It is important to Germany that these elections are free and fair. To make this possible, progress is needed in other areas, too – such as the security sector and the withdrawal of all foreign fighters including other countries’ militaries as well as mercenaries.
The security sector must be reformed and subjected to stringent supervision by a united civilian authority. There must be a comprehensive process to demobilise and disarm armed groups and militias in Libya. These are no easy tasks, but the state’s lawful monopoly on the use of force must be restored in order to ensure security for the people of Libya and prevent a return to armed conflict. Germany will continue to support Libya in these tasks in cooperation with UNSMIL and other international partners.