Panafrican News Agency

Libya media highlight US' return to the political scene, meeting to agree electoral law

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - Libyan newspapers last week focused on two developments on the political scene: the "return" of the US to the political process and a meeting in Morocco by delegates of Parliament and High Council of State to agree a law for the 24 December general elections.

The demand of the African Union (AU) countries for a gradual withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign fighters was also highlighted by the Libyan press.

Al-Wassat newspaper reported the efforts of the US under the headline: "Diplomatic and military meetings, Washington throws all its weight behind the Libyan issue."

The newspaper said as the 24 December elections draw near, calls from foreign countries, including the US, are increasing  for the date to be respected.

It cited, as an example, the "Support for Stability in Libya" bill that has been passed by the US House of Representatives with 385 votes for, 35 against and 12 abstentions, and needs a presidential assent to become law.

The newspaper reported that during a visit to Libya by the Commander of the US military command in Africa (AFRICOM), General Stephen Townsend, he stressed the need to continue to support diplomatic efforts for the poll to go ahead as scheduled.

He reiterated his support for the political reconciliation process and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country.

General Townsend, accompanied by the US envoy and ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, attended the first meeting of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission in Tripoli. 

This was to discuss a timetable and a plan for the withdrawal of foreign forces, fighters and mercenaries, the newspaper said, adding that Mr. Norland saw Tripoli hosting of the meeting as "another step towards national reconciliation and the end of a year of conflict". 

The Commission's first meeting inside Libya was held in the central city of Sirte in November 2020.

Mr. Norland also said the elections will be a step towards a stable and unified national government with a mandate from Libyan voters.

The newspaper quoted Prime Minister Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba as saying the passing of the "Support for Stability in Libya" is an expression of support of the US Congress to achieve stability in the country.

This is because the law allows the US authorities to prosecute those who impede the achievement of stability in Libya.

Echoing the results of the the consultative meeting in Morocco between delegates of Parliament and the High Council of State Afrigatenews newspaper said they called on the international community to support the electoral process in accordance with the agreed laws. They also called for respect of the results of the polls and deployment of international observers.

The meeting agreed that holding the elections on schedule is the only solution for "Libya's passage to a permanent and stable stage".

The meeting, which was organised by Morocco, the UN and Libyan parties, focused on points of disagreement on constitutional rules related to the elections.

Returning to the issue of the presence of mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya, Al-Wassat said that the AU High Level Committee on Libya has called for the "gradual, consensual and balanced withdrawal of foreign fighters from the country without compromising the security of neighbouring countries".

It said a speech read on behalf of Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso by Congolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Congolese Foreign Minister Jean-Claude Gakosso, underlined the position of the Committee on the resolution of the Libyan crisis during meetings of the just-ended United Nations General Assembly.

He welcomed, the "great progress" in this regard, thanks to the concerted efforts of the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States and Libya's neighbours and the Berlin Process, which have created a new dynamic in the search for solutions to end the crisis.

-0- PANA BY/IS/BBA/MA 3Oct2021