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Essebsi: Preparations for trilateral summit on Libya

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LIBYAPROSPECT – Tunisia

The Tunisian President, Beji Caid Essebsi, unveiled preparations for a trilateral summit, which includes Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt to solve the Libyan crisis, pointing to preparations to hold a ministerial meeting of foreign ministers of the three countries before the summit. He also said that the Libyan situation was a core issue he discussed with the Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Essebsi said, in an interview with a Tunisian magazine, that he dispatched his foreign minister to Cairo to meet the Egyptian President, Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, to propose a new initiative to solve the crisis. Tunisia is working to close any gaps and reinstate national unity and consensus”.

The Tunisian President pointed that Libya’s direct neighbor countries like Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia have significant interests to see the Libyans keen to close the gaps and resolve differences, heading toward the national unity and reconciliation. He said that “no country has the right to interfere in the Libyan affairs based on private agendas.” He added that “the only plan must remain the Libyans’ agenda. The threat of division is very close, which will be catastrophic. Tunisia is supporting Libya, avoiding any divisions or disintegrations.”

“Libya, facing the threat of division and internal armed conflicts with grave consequences, is of great importance, which prompts Tunisia to work with Libya’s closest neighbors, Algeria and Egypt, to facilitate the dialogue among different factions,” said Essebsi.

Essebsi’s approach is a kind of support to Algeria’s situation that called from the beginning to resolve Libya’s crises without intervening in its internal matters, pointing that it would have been better after 2011 to get back to historical agreements between Libyans themselves, then work on democratic, inclusive transitional period that leads to the national reconciliation and new institutions. That approach failed due to interferences by different countries with conflicting agendas with complicated matters. The Algerian Foreign and International Cooperation Minister, Ramtan Lamamra, confirmed, on the sidelines of Africa Security and Peace Forum that “Libya’s neighbors should be part of the solution in resolving the crisis. Algeria considers that the Libyans should not be a single part of the problem.”

Indications to near breakthrough emerged remarkably, especially after Algeria welcomed some of Libyan officials including the head of the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, General Khalifa Haftar, and the head of the House of Representatives (HoR), Ageela Saleh, which creates new approach to deal with the crisis, especially that the political Shkirat accord proved incompetence as it didn’t involve all Libyan factions.

Observers say that reaching reconciliation requires the inclusion of all Libya factions, provided they don’t oppose the political resolution. Algeria is working on the same approach, keeping to listen to all rival parties to reach consensual decisions that put Libya’s interests above any other considerations.

Back to the Tunisian position, its Foreign Minister, earlier, said that Tunisia agrees with Algeria regarding the need to reach political resolutions through dialogue and reconciliation. Regarding the Algerian approach “the best solution given the current situation and escalated tensions.”

In another side, Essebsi undermined dangers emerging from the return of Tunisian jihadists from conflict zones in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. He added that “we judge intentions, we respect the Constitution and strictly implement laws, no freedom granted for proved criminals.”