Fatima Abdul Ghani
The Libyan crisis is moving along two parallel lines between ceasefire and escalation. The first line calls for stability through a ceasefire and returning to political dialogue. The United Nations and the Arab League have called for calm and seizing the opportunity of the Eid al-Adha holiday to stop the fighting in Libya.
Acting UN Special Representative in Libya Stephanie Williams demanded that Eid al-Adha be an opportunity to enhance brotherly ties and end the fighting between Libyans, appealing to the parties to establish a ceasefire and return to negotiating table. She expressed her hope that the language of love, tolerance and unity prevails among the Libyan people.
On Thursday, July 30, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit renewed his call to establish a ceasefire in Libya and to reach an official and comprehensive agreement to stop the fighting and military actions in the country within the framework of negotiations sponsored by the UN Mission in Libya.
Aboul Gheit stressed the importance of working seriously to complete the existing negotiations within the framework of the joint military committee between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) to reach an integrated agreement on ceasefire arrangements under the auspices and supervision of the United Nations.
He pointed out the necessity of stopping all forms of foreign interference in the Libyan crisis, once again rejecting and condemning the repeated violations of the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council, as well as the systematic recruitment and sending of foreign fighters, mercenaries and terrorist elements into the country.
Aboul Gheit demanded the removal of all foreign forces from Libyan territory and implementing a lasting and radical solution to the threat posed by militias and armed groups.
No political path aimed at achieving a pure and integrated national settlement of the Libyan situation can succeed without ending these foreign interferences and regional targeting of the security and stability of the country, Aboul Gheit said. Once again, the Arab League is committed to ensuring the sovereignty and independence of the Libyan state, the integrity of its lands and national unity, preserving the security and stability of Libya’s Arab neighbors, and addressing everything that affects and threatens Arab national security.
On the other hand, EU Ambassador to Libya Alan Bugeja affirmed that the European Union continues to work with its partners to achieve a permanent ceasefire between the two sides and to return to the political process necessary for Libya to move towards peace and reconciliation.
In a statement published by the EU Mission in Libya on Friday, July 31, Bugeja expressed his well wishes for the Libyan people on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, a holiday full of peace.
“At this time, our thoughts are with many innocent victims of the ongoing conflict and instability that has spoiled the country over the past decade,” Bugeja said in the statement, adding, “We will continue to work with our partners to achieve a permanent ceasefire between the two sides and to return to the political process necessary for Libya to move towards peace and reconciliation.”
In the same context, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on Friday, July 31 for the need for a political solution to the Libyan crisis and an end to foreign interference in Libyan affairs.
“The Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, fought against ISIS when the terrorist organization was controlling some areas in Libya,” Le Drian said before France’s Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
“We support the Libyan National Army, which was famous internationally for its fight against ISIS. We do not provide it with effective military support, but rather advice and political support,” he added.
Despite all these calls seeking an end to the conflict in Libya, there are others seeking to escalate the situation, as GNA forces continued to launch new threats to attack LNA sites in the cities of Sirte and Jufra, in a new challenge to international and regional efforts aimed at preventing war between the two parties. On Friday, July 31, the LNA monitored movements by Erdogan’s mercenary forces and the GNA militias along the road between Misrata and the Hayshah district west of Sirte, although they did not dare approach the red line.
LNA spokesman Brigadier General Khalid al-Mahjoub revealed that the LNA has monitored the transfer of groups of mercenaries approaching the red line of Sirte and Jufra, pointing out that the LNA is ready for the battle of Sirte and has wide regional and international support. He noted that Turkey relies on mercenaries for political gains in Libya, while the LNA is adhering to the departure of mercenaries from Libyan territory as one of the main outputs of the Berlin Summit.
Despite the warnings, the GNA and its allies are continuing to play with Turkey on the edge of the abyss and approach the red line, according to observers.