By Khalid Mahmoud
London hosted a meeting on Thursday to support the political process in Libya and back the efforts of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his special envoy Ghassan Salame.
The British Foreign Office said in a statement that the six-nation ministerial meeting represented an opportunity to discuss ways to break Libya’s political stalemate and build momentum in support of the efforts of the Secretary-General and his special representative.
The foreign ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the United Nations envoy to Libya attended the meeting.
“Libya is a front line in our common struggle against terrorism and illegal migration and we all share a vital interest in that country’s stability. Our shared goal is to break the political deadlock and rally behind the United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame as he seeks to bring all sides together,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said during a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The Italian foreign ministry said in a statement that the London meeting discussed the status of the political process in Libya and exchanged views on how to support the work of the United Nations in light of the meeting to be convened by the UN Secretary-General on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York next week.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council extended on Thursday for one year the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), focused on supporting the North African country’s political process and key national institutions, as well as coordination of international assistance.
In a statement, the UN News Center said that the Security Council has unanimously adopted a new resolution, extending UNSMIL’s mandate through 15 September 2018, “during which time it would exercise mediation and ‘good offices’ to support an inclusive political process within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement; continued implementation of the Agreement; and consolidation of the governance, security and economic arrangements of the Government of National Accord (GNA), among others.”
Tillerson and British Prime Minister Theresa May touched on the Libyan crisis during their meeting in London on Thursday.
“We hope to focus on the mediation of the United Nations and the political process and give them a new impetus to reach a reunification in Libya,” a US official said.
On a different note, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda renewed her calls to the Libyan government on Wednesday for the immediate arrest and surrender of Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, who is alleged to have participated in war crimes in Libya.
Werfalli is suspected of directly participating in seven incidents involving the deaths of 33 individuals.
Stressing that Libya has the primary responsibility to arrest Werfalli and surrender him to the custody of the ICC, Bensouda urged Libya authorities to “use all means in their reach to do so immediately.”
She also expressed concerns regarding conflicting reports about the arrest of the Libyan figure.
Washington Pledges to Restore Libyan Unity
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged on Saturday the need for the international community to help the Libyan people find local solutions to allow their government to carry out its duties.
He vowed that Washington will help Tripoli “restore unity in Libya.”
Tillerson made his remarks before US diplomats in London after a ministerial meeting that was held there to discuss Libya.
Spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abou Zeid said that the gatherers in London had expressed their relief with the drop in terrorist activity in the North African country.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri attributed the drop to the reduction of terrorism financing in recent months.
Abou Zeid added in a statement that United Nations envoy to Libya Ghassan Salameh had studied the latest Libyan security and political developments. He had also presented his vision over the upcoming meeting on the crisis that will be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The Assembly will convene in New York on Wednesday.
Abou Zeid added that the gatherers at the London meeting were agreed on the importance of Salameh’s efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis.
Shoukri meanwhile stressed that Egypt will continue to attempt to bridge the divide between the Libya leaderships on the civil and military levels.
Cairo supports reaching a consensus agreement that would ensure that a political settlement is reached based on the Skheirat deal, said the FM.
The deal was reached in Morocco two years ago under UN sponsorship.