(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
The international community pledged its support to Libya’s fledgling UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in a joint communique released after the meeting in Vienna between foreign ministers to support security and stability in Libya.
The meeting in Vienna, which took place Monday, was attended by foreign ministers or senior officials from Algeria, Chad, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Niger, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United Nations, the League of Arab States, and the African Union.
In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, Kerry said that “their presence is a powerful statement about the international community’s commitment to the GNA, to Prime Minister Sarraj, and to the effort to bring unity to Libya and the long-term goal of a stable Libya that is at peace with itself, which is unified and secure.”
The communique stated that the international community fully supported the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed on December 17, 2015 in Skhirat, Morocco.
“We share the Libyan people’s aspiration to transform Libya into a secure and democratic state, achieve unity and reconciliation, and restore the rule of law and state authority. We are committed to supporting all efforts of the GNA in order to enhance political outreach throughout the country.”
The communique added that all parties in Libya were encouraged to work constructively toward the political transition, particularly the House of Representatives (HoR) was called on to carry out its role as outlined in the LPA and give its vote of confidence.
Kerry stated that the “House of Representatives must take a vote on the GNA and honor the Skhirat agreement, and the international community can help that by being present when that takes place.”
Establishing security and stability in Libya was also a key talking point during the meeting, with the international community stressing that only through unity can the government ensure the security of Libya and defend the country against terrorism.
“Security is key for the future of Libya. The GNA faces critical security challenges, but it does not face them alone. We salute the Presidency Council’s creation of the Presidential Guard which will be composed of professional personnel according to Article III of the Presidential Council Decree No 2 to protect national institutions, members of the Presidential Council, and members of the government.”
Foreign Minister Gentiloni reiterated that security and stabilization was they key to the GNA’s success, “with stabilization, we can fight terrorism; we can assure development to a country with rich potentialities but with a strong humanitarian crisis now. We can tackle the migration issue; we can develop the resources of Libya. Without stabilization, we risk tensions, divisions, and intra-Libyan fights.”
In addition, the communique stated that the international community would cease supporting or having contact with parallel institutions, “Libya’s national economic institutions, including the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), National Oil Corporation (NOC), and Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), must function under the sole stewardship of the GNA.”
Kerry made it clear in his statements that it is imperative that the international community fully support the GNA, as the unity government is the only entity that can “unify the country and address the economic crisis and humanitarian suffering” in Libya.
In the joint statement with Kerry and Gentiloni, Sarraj thanked the international community for supporting the GNA and reiterated that the collaboration of all parties is necessary in order to solve Libya’s “extremely bad” economic, financial and security issues.
Sarraj said: “we’ve called for lifting the embargo on arms to support the joint command and the military establishment. We’ve called for equipping and arming the presidential guard, which will have a clear role in fighting extremism and securing key institutions, and it’s not a substitute to police or the army.”
Addressing Sarraj’s call to lift the arms embargo, the communique stated “we will fully support these efforts while continuing to reinforce the UN arms embargo.”
Furthermore, the international community expressed its willingness to reopen diplomatic missions in Tripoli as soon as possible.