The African Union Commission chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has said that the African Union is organising a national reconciliation conference for Libya, the latest attempt to restore stability to the conflict-torn country.
“We have met with the different parties and we are in the process of working with them on a date and place for the national conference,” he said at the end of a two-day AU summit press conference.
According to Faki, the meeting will be presided over by the African Union’s pointman on Libya, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Following the overthrow of dictator Muammar Ghadafi in a NATO-backed rebellion in 2011, the North African country descended into a decade of violence. The ensuing power grab birthed a number of homegrown militias and prompted interventions by Arab powers, as well as Turkey, Russia, and Western states.
Since March of last year, an administration in Libya’s east backed by military leader Khalifa Haftar has challenged Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s UN-recognised government, claiming it has outlived its mandate.
To conclude a UN-sponsored peace process, presidential and legislative elections were initially scheduled for December 2021. However, the polls were postponed indefinitely due to sharp disagreements over controversial candidates and participation rules.
According to Faki, a preparatory meeting for the reconciliation conference was held several weeks ago in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
“The departure of mercenaries was demanded,” he said. “The Libyans must talk to each other, I believe that’s a precondition for elections to be held in a stable country.”
The UN mission in Libya announced earlier this month that senior officials from the rival administrations had agreed to a coordination mechanism to rid the country of foreign troops and mercenaries. It hailed an important step towards achieving sustainable stability and peace in Libya after a meeting in Cairo on February 8 along with officials from Sudan and Niger.
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