Roundtable dialogue on the “Assessment of the latest initiative of the UN Envoy on Libya”
On March 29, 2023, ECFA held a closed roundtable dialogue, in which it hosted Ambassador Ahmed Abdel Meguid, Director of the Libya Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regarding the initiative recently launched by Mr. Abdoulaye Bathily, the United Nations Envoy, to hold presidential and parliamentary elections this summer, evaluate it, and identify the positions of the Libyan parties, as well as the regional and international powers regarding it, and chances of its success, and the prospects for the future. The meeting was moderated by Ambassador Mohamed Badr El-Din Zayed, Rapporteur of ECFA’s Permanent Committee on Arab Affairs, while Ambassadors Marwan Badr, Mohamed El-Ashmawy, Mohamed Tawfik, Salah Halima, Mohamed Anis Salem, and Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, participated in it.
Ambassador Abdel Meguid gave a comprehensive presentation of the developments on the Libyan scene, the new international initiative, its circumstances, and the initial reactions, explaining the motives for Egyptian reservations regarding this initiative and the elements of its many shortcomings, and its attempt to marginalize the Libyan House of Representatives, the legislative and legitimate institution concerned with approving special legal instruments regarding the proposed initiatives and agreements. The initiative also contains disregard and ambiguity regarding one of the most dangerous dimensions of the crisis, which is the spread of weapons in the Libyan territories, and the presence of foreign mercenaries and armed militias, which have a significant negative impact on the security situation in Libya, and contribute to the complexity of reaching a political settlement there.
We observe that the positions of Western countries in support of this initiative, as shown at the meeting of the International Contact Group on Libya, hosted by Washington, D.C. on February 23, 2023, with the participation of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, and officials from Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Britain – comes in the context of its plans to besiege Russian influence in the entire African continent, and remove Russian Wagner mercenaries from the Sahel and Sahara and from Libyan territories, especially in light of the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war, in order to prevent Russia from opening a new front in the south of the European continent in the soft underbelly of NATO led by the United States. This is also consistent with Washington identifying some military targets in southern Libya, such as in Fezzan and Murzuq, with the aim of liberating some of the main communication points where Haftar and Wagner’s forces are stationed, and which are located between Libya and the countries of the Sahel and Sahara region.