Panafrican News Agency

Libyan newspapers highlight Conference on Stability

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The ministerial conference on stability in Libya dominated newspapers in the North African country last week, highlighting it as the first in a decade and giving it the opportunity to reflect on its destiny and finding a solution to the raging crises.

The Libyan press echoed the recommendations of the final communiqué of the conference, which comes at a crucial time to reaffirm the need to hold general elections on 24 December as scheduled, as well as the departure of mercenaries, fighters and foreign forces.

The issue of illegal migration surfaced at the conference, reignited by the violence in some migrant detention centres in an attempt to perpetuate the fight against the phenomenon by transferring it from the sea to the land in the south where the waves of migrants come from.

The Al-Wassat newspaper noted that Tripoli hosted dozens of foreign delegations, in a climate of extraordinary security measures, due to the circumstances the country is going through.

One of its stories on the conference had the headline: "For the first time, Libya from guest to host, delegations from more than 30 countries meet in Tripoli."

Al-Wassat said that what was remarkable about the conference was the low-level diplomatic presence of countries involved in the intra-Libyan conflict.

Turkey sent the deputy foreign minister, Sedat Unal; the US was represented by the deputy secretary of state, Wendy Cherman; Germany sent deputy foreign minister, Niels Annen, the EU was represented by its ambassador to Libya, Jose Antonio Sabadell; while the the UN sent under-secretary-general, Rosemary DiCarlo, the newspaper reported.

It noted that there were questions about why it was convened just two months before the elections amidst persistent difficulties in reaching a unified constitutional basis for the polls.

The newspaper said some observers have questioned the title of the conference, and wondered whether it was not to mobilise international support for the postponement of the elections.

Al-Wassat said the conference's focus on security, military and economic issues rather than political, suggested that the government was trying to draw participants' attention to the security challenges of holding the elections on the scheduled date and therefore demanded that an international committee be tasked with assessing the security situation to determine the extent of preparations.

The newspaper said diplomatic leaks revealed that Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangouch and EU foreign ministers discussed holding parliamentary elections on 24 December but postpone the presidential election until next year, claiming that several security issues had not been resolved, most notably the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries.

At a time when the international community seems determined to hold the elections on time, an expert on Libya at the Global Initiative Research Centre, Jalal Harchaoui, denounced what he described as the slowness of Libyan officials to prepare for the elections, Al-Wassat said.

The newspaper said many observers confirm that the outcome of the conference will not go beyond generalities, the content of Security Council resolutions and the results of international conferences.

The Afrigatenews newspaper reported that the government welcomed the return of embassies to work from Tripoli, and called on others to resume their activities.

It said the communique underlines the government's permanent, firm and strong commitment to Libya's sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity, and its categorical rejection of foreign interference in the country's affairs. It also condemned attempts to violate the arms embargo and fomenting chaos.

The electronic newspaper reported the full commitment of the Government of National Unity (GNU) to implement Security Council resolutions on Libya, particularly resolution 1970, 2570 and 2571, the results of the Berlin conferences (1) and (2), and the roadmap issued by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.

The importance of taking the necessary steps to build confidence and create an appropriate environment for the holding of the elections on 24 December in a fair, transparent and inclusive manner, was signalled in the final communiqué, the newspaper said.

It also noted the government's intention to take the lead in the framework of the leading international efforts to end the crises.

The Arabic language electronic newspaper indicated the government's support for the efforts of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission in the full implementation of the terms of the ceasefire agreement and the action plan that was approved during the the commission's meeting in Geneva from 6 to 8 October 2021.

Returning to the issue of illegal immigration to Europe, Al-Wassat newspaper reported that the issue has escalated after the violence and escape in some migrant shelters in Libya.

It reported that an Italian court has handed the first verdict in the migration issues. The captain of a ship that forced about 100 migrants to return to Libya was handed a one-year prison sentence.

Meanwhile, Libyan officials have demanded, according to the newspaper, that the fight against migration be shifted from the Mediterranean to southern Libya.

In the first seven months of this year, around 380 migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy drowned, the same number recorded last year, the newspaper said, citing figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

-0- PANA BY/IS/BBA/MA 24Oct2021