Fri, 17 Jun 2022 - 03:03 GMT
Fri, 17 Jun 2022 - 03:03 GMT
Libyan sides engage in the third round of constitutional track committee meetings in Cairo - Photo courtesy of UN Special Advisor on Libya Stephanie Williams
CAIRO – 17 June 2022: Egypt has been hosting the third and last round of talks within the framework of the UN-sponsored Libyan constitutional track meetings between delegations from the rival East-based Parliament and the High Council of State.
The delegations are discussing the constitutional arrangements to hold the long-awaited presidential and parliamentary elections, which will send Libyans to ballot boxes to express their free will after years of conflict and political turmoil.
Cairo also hosted the meeting of the Joint Military Committee 5 + 5 to build on the achievements of the committee since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in Libya in October 2020.
This third round of talks come amid a critical time after clashes rocked the Libyan capital of Tripoli last month when parliament-appointed Fathi Bashagha entered the city to take over government.
Bashagha left the city shortly after that following armed clashes with forces loyal to the Tripoli administration under Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, who refused to cede power except after elections are held.
The government of Dbeibah, which was formed through a UN process last year, has been blamed for not managing to hold the elections as planned last December.
During the Cairo talks, which started early this week, UN Special Advisor on Libya Stephanie Williams urged stop using force in Libya to intimidate citizens and disrupt the delicate political process in the Arab country.
Williams urged Libyan parties to shoulder their responsibility in reviving hope for the Libyans through paving the way for elections after agreeing on a constitutional framework in this regard.
The UN advisor also affirmed the international community’s full support to the two sides’ endeavors to bring back the election process on track.
“I commend members for continuing to work toward consensus and urge them to fulfil their duty to the Libyan people, who have demonstrated desire for an election by registering to vote by the millions,” Williams wrote on her Twitter.
Key articles still pending
The Libyan sides are gathering in the Egyptian capital with the aim of reaching a consensus on a constitutional framework to enable the holding of elections, which would meet the aspirations of almost 3 million Libyan people eligible for vote.
Although the parties have agreed on many articles over the past two rounds of talks, a number of key articles are still pending.
In her opening remarks, Williams said this final round of talks comes at a “critical juncture” for Libya after 11 years of “division, dysfunction, conflict, chaos and polarization,” which have exhausted Libyan people.
On day 5 of the HoR/HCS Joint Committee constitutional consultations, I commend members for continuing to work toward consensus and urge them to fulfil their duty to the Libyan people, who have demonstrated desire for an election by registering to vote by the millions. pic.twitter.com/U8FBFbXyb7— Stephanie Turco Williams (@SASGonLibya) June 16, 2022
“You have a real opportunity, indeed a solemn responsibility, to give them hope, to provide a pathway towards elections within a firm constitutional framework,” she added.
The constitutional track meetings started in Cairo on 13 April and the second round started in May.
“During the last round of talks in May, you demonstrated a spirit of collaboration and responsibility, as well as a willingness to make compromises. You constructively agreed on a significant number of articles, and you came to an initial consensus on sensitive issues,” Williams said.
However, there are key articles that are still pending to be agreed on, Williams said, adding that the Libyan sides still have important issues to resolve.
The UN advisor called on the Libyan sides to “maintain the sense of responsibility and the spirit of compromise” to be able to reach consensus on the remaining points to pave the way for upholding the interests of the country over and holding elections.
What has been achieved?
In April, the rival parties in Libya held their first constitutional track meeting in Cairo, where they agreed on continuing efforts to draw up a constitutional and legislative framework that enables holding presidential and parliamentary vote as soon as possible.
During the second round in April, delegations of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State concluded their talks after agreeing on 140 articles of the draft constitution.
According to a closing statement circulated by media after the second round of talks, the Libyan parties established a task force to prepare a compromise formulation regarding the articles agreed upon during the meeting to refer them to the parliament and state council for consideration.
Through this round of negotiations, the Libyan sides are set to agree on a constitutional framework for holding the elections after agreeing on the rest of articles.
“I wish you all success in the next seven days to achieve the best positive outcome possible. My team and I are confident that you will not let your compatriots down, and most importantly, Libya as whole. We stand fully ready to provide all necessary and needed technical assistance,” Williams said.
Egypt’s support to Libya
Over the past years, Egypt has reiterated support to the efforts to achieve peace in Libya, bring the political process back on track, and pave the way for a political solution to the decade-long crisis in the Arab country.
Egypt has also coordinated with international parties to ensure that a political solution to the Libyan crisis is reached away from foreign interference.
Cairo has affirmed support to Debaibah’s government when it was selected during a UN-sponsored process last year and vowed to cooperate with the Libyan officials until elections are held. Egypt also voiced support in February to House of Representatives’ decision to choose Bashagha as premier.
Egypt, which has called on the international and bilateral levels for a political Libyan-Libyan solution to the crisis, including through the first and second Berlin International Conference on Libya, has also reiterated the need to hold elections as scheduled.
Egypt has also called for the exit of foreign mercenaries and fighters from Libya and warned against foreign interference in the Libyan affairs, which would undermine political efforts in the sisterly country.