Politics, Middle East

Groups, councils in western Libya reject Paris summit

French initiative calls for ‘unification’ of Libyan central bank, army

Groups, councils in western Libya reject Paris summit


Thirteen councils and armed groups based in western Libya have voiced their rejection of a French initiative ostensibly aimed at achieving reconciliation between Libya’s rival political camps.

The French government has invited 19 countries to attend a Tuesday summit in Paris with a view to finding a political solution to the North African country’s seven-year political crisis.

In a joint statement, 13 armed groups and military councils based in western Libya -- including some loyal to the UN-backed unity government based in Tripoli -- voiced their rejection of the planned summit.

Signatories stated their rejection of “any initiative aimed at consolidating military rule in [Libya] and which does not take Libyan military law into consideration… and which does not promote a civil state or the peaceful rotation of power”.

The groups go on to state their rejection of any agreements that might be concluded during the summit.

They also expressed their readiness to host a separate initiative in western Libya with a view to fostering “genuine dialogue aimed at meeting the aspirations of all of Libyan society, safeguarding Libya’s territorial integrity and resisting foreign interference”.

The groups further state their support for any initiative that gives priority to ending conflict in the country, going on to urge the UN to maintain neutrality when dealing with the Libyan file.

Paris has invited 19 countries -- including the UN Security Council’s five permanent members, Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait -- to attend Tuesday’s summit at the Elysee Palace.

On Monday, Aguila Saleh, head of the Libyan House of Representatives, and Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by the Tobruk-based assembly, both headed to Paris to attend the summit.

Libya’s Tripoli-based High Council of State, for its part, has also conditionally agreed to send representatives.

The French initiative calls for the “unification” of both the Libyan central bank and the country’s army, along with elections sometime later this year to be followed by a constitutional referendum.

Reporting by Jihad Nasr:Writing by Mahmoud Barakat 

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