File - Aref Ali Nayed during his interview with Egypt Today
File - Aref Ali Nayed during his interview with Egypt Today

My loyalty is to Libya, not to any party: Nayed

Sat, Aug. 25, 2018
CAIRO – 25 August 2018: Presidential candidate, Aref Ali Nayed, said that Qatar, Turkey and Iran are threatening Libyan national security, adding that they pose a threat to the whole region.

During an interview with France's Le Monde Afrique newspaper, Al-Nayed said that his absolute loyalty is to the Libyan state and its national army and not to any party, stressing that he harbors hostility towards the terrorist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.

During an interview earlier with Egypt Today, Nayed talked about several things related to the Libyan political situation, on both the international and domestic levels. He discussed his own perspective for the elections, his country’s forging relations and interests, the Egyptian role in unifying the political and military parties, the former regime and the Muslim Brotherhood’s role and effect.

Nayed, who served as the Libyan ambassador to the UAE from June 2011 to October 2016, affirmed that he can’t find any way out politically for his country except through conducting the elections. However, he wondered about politicians’ seriousness in holding the elections. “Through their statements, they affirm that they are seconding the elections, but on the ground and when it comes to reality, I can’t really see clear signs. For instance, we still don’t know anything about the elections law, its exact timing or how to secure it,” he said.

“We have a real legitimacy issue in our country; we need to renew it and this won’t happen except through the elections,” Nayed affirmed. He preferred to conduct all the elections at the same time. “Maybe it would be better to organize the municipal, legislative and presidential elections in one round to rationalize expenditures and facilitate arrangements.”

He explained that the country’s security situation today is not worse than 2014. “Every government and military organization can secure the election process inside its influence area with the presence of national and international representatives.”

Nayed found it difficult to start writing a Libyan constitution before the elections, as the first draft has not been agreed upon by the Libyan parties. “The constitution needs to be consistent; meanwhile, the draft we have is not,” he remarked. He suggested making some amendments to regulate the elections.

Nayed praised Egypt’s role regarding the Libyan situation and unifying the army. “We thank Egypt for offering us a trusted and safe place that gathered our politicians and army members,” he said.

Egypt hosted several meetings for Libyan army representatives from the eastern and southern regions, along with Misurata. All of the political parties in Libya agreed that Egypt’s continuous efforts that aim to unify the army are deeply appreciated.

Talking about the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Libya, Nayed said that the MB’s distractive capabilities should not be underestimated. “However, history proved that Libya is not an appropriate environment for hosting them; so when the elections take place, I highly doubt that they will gain any popularity. We are a moderate country and I don’t think that they would have a chance,” he stated.

Regarding the relations that may connect the MB with ISIS, Nayed said that the Libyan people suffered a lot from terrorism and extremism. “More than 700 people were killed during our war with ISIS. No one will protect them or any groups they are affiliated with,” he affirmed.

Nayed affirmed that he never agreed with the idea of eliminating former Libyan regime members from the political scene. “Excluding them collectively from the Libyan society is not fair. We should only exclude some specific members and only according to the law,” he added.

The political relations with Turkey and Qatar were also discussed during the interview, especially with the Arab-Gulf diplomatic conflict within the region. Nayed assured that despite having good relations with Ankara and Doha in the past, the new political approach for their current governments would make him say that choosing to back and support the Arab quartet (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain) would be a better choice against any other party that supports terrorism.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Gomaa and Aya Samir
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