World, Middle East

Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt unveil 5-point Libya initiative

Initiative calls for stepping up reconciliation efforts and safeguarding Libya’s sovereignty, territorial integrity

Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt unveil 5-point Libya initiative Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui (C), Algerian Minister for Maghreb and Africa Affairs Abdel Kadir Mesahil (L) and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) hold a joint press conference following their meeting to solve the crisis in Libya, at Carthage Palace in Tunis, Tunisia on February 20, 2017.

TUNIS, Tunisia 

Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt on Monday unveiled a new initiative for reaching a comprehensive political settlement in crisis-wracked Libya.

At a joint press conference in Tunis also attended by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and Algerian Minister for Maghreb, African and Arab Affairs Abdelkader Messahel, Tunisian Foreign Minister Khamis Alaghinawa read out the "Tunis Declaration" encapsulating the initiative’s five points.

The initiative, Alaghinawa said, was based on earlier proposals for resolving the crisis in Libya tabled by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.

The five points of the initiative, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency, are as follows:

1) That the three declaration signatories (Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt) would step up efforts to achieve comprehensive reconciliation in Libya through dialogue with all relevant parties and under the auspices of the UN.

2) That the three signatories recognize Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and believe that a political solution -- based on the December 17, 2015 Skhirat agreement -- represents the only way out of the country’s political crisis.

3) That the three signatories reject any military solution to -- or external interference in -- the Libya crisis, acknowledging that a viable settlement can only be achieved by the Libyan people themselves.

4) They also called for ensuring the continuity of Libyan state institutions as was stipulated in the 2015 agreement. These institutions include the Presidential Council, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Council of State. Signatories to the declaration also called for the preservation and unification of the Libyan Armed Forces in accordance with the 2015 agreement.

5) Signatories also called for convening a tripartite summit in Algiers devoted to the Libya crisis (for which no date was given) to be attended by Tunisian, Egyptian and Algerian representatives.

Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power.

In the wake of the uprising, the country’s stark political divisions yielded two rival seats of government, one in Tobruk and the other in capital Tripoli.

In an effort to resolve the political standoff, Libya’s rival governments signed a UN-backed agreement in late 2015 in the Moroccan city of Skhirat establishing a government of national unity.

*Reporting by Adel al-Thabiti; Writing by Ali Abo Rezeg

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