By Libya Herald staff.
Tunis, 22 March 2016:
The Presidency Council must go to Tripoli and, as its top priority, start rebuilding the . . .[restrict]Libyan armed forces so that they can fight the so-called Islamic State (IS/) Special Envoy Martin Kobler has said. With IS growing in the country, Libya has to move “very quickly” to rebuild its military to fight it.
If that did not happen, if Libyans “do not address the problems of terrorism, of Daesh and Ansar,” he warned, “others will manage the situation”.
He did not state who the others might be but did say that such a situation had to be avoided.
Speaking at press conference after foreign ministers from Libya’s six neighbouring states met in Tunis this morning to review the latest political and security developments in the country, Kobler nonetheless expressed confidence that the Presidency would go as soon as it could to Tripoli. “It is a question of days not weeks” he predicted.
The need for the Presidency and the Government of National Accord (GNA) to “urgently move” to Tripoli and start to fight terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration was also one of the main points of a statement from the neighbouring countries’ meeting. Reiterating their support for Presidency Council, Serraj and the GNA, the foreign ministers added that the GNA had to be provided all necessary means to take office and restore stability and security in Libya.
In addition to the Presidency’s move to Tripoli and the rebuilding and equipping of the Libyan army to fight IS, Kobler presented two further proposals to today’s meeting. One was that the GNA undertake Libya’s reconstruction as a priority, the other that there be a grand meeting of Libya’s mayors and tribal representatives in order to broaden the basis of support for the GNA.
The UN Special Envoy believed, however, that “the overwhelming majority” of Libyans – he put the figure at 80 percent – already supported the GNA and the PC. They were exasperated with the crisis, with salaries not paid, electricity cuts and a heath care service that did not work.
Despite the call for such a meeting of mayors and tribal elders (he dubbed it a “national shoura”). there was a note of exasperation with continuing talks and gatherings in his words today. There had been enough meetings and talking, he said, noting that the meeting of Libya’s neighbours was their eighth. It was time for action, he insisted. “We need to be practical . . . we must implement and react. There must be the immediate transfer of power to the GNA.”
Asked if General Khalifa Hafter had a role in the Libyan settlement, he said that it was for the government to decide who did what, but nonetheless people from all over Libya – east, west and south – had to be part of the solution, Hafter included. “We need to include all the stakeholders in the country”, he said.
As well as Kobler, the meeting was attended by Presidency Council head, prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj, who addressed the ministers. Also present were African Union Special Envoy to Libya, former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, the Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and European Union deputy foreign affairs chief Helga Schmid.
In his briefing on the meeting, Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said that there was serious concern that the growth of terrorism in Libya was putting at risk not only Libya but neighbouring countries also well. If the Presidency went to Tripoli and started operating from there, he added, it would send positive signals to international community. [/restrict]