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Former Tunisian FM: Only Libyans Can Solve their Country’s Political Crisis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Former Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafik Abdul Salam. KUNA

Tunisia- Former Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdul Salam, who is also a leader in Ennahda Party, revealed the role Tunisia and his political party have been playing in convincing Libyan parties of the necessity of reaching a political solution for their crisis.

Abdul Salam acknowledged the existence of a common Tunisian-Algerian vision that started from the Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s initiative and was later joined by Egypt.

He confirmed that this vision will be developed in order to achieve reconciliation among Libyan parties.

Regarding the role played by Head of the Party Rached Ghannouchi in reaching a solution for Libyan conflict through holding talks with Libyan parties, especially Muslim ones, Abdul Salam told Asharq Al-Awsat that Ennahda Party is using its potentials and all its good relations with most of the political parties for the success of the tripartite political initiative.

However, he explained that this initiative is led by Tunisia, thus Ennahda party is only assisting its government, which is responsible for solving the Libyan crisis.

He further noted that the Tunisian revolution was characterized by its local specificities through seeking to solve the power crisis and the sharing of power among Tunisians, who succeeded to a large extent in doing that.

Moreover, he said that Tunisians were aware of the cultural and intellectual factors when they started their revolution.

When asked about the Libyan parties’ stance from this initiative and if they showed any interest in it, Abdul Salam answered that the solution to the Libyan political and security crises starts from the Libyans themselves.

He explained that despite the fact that their crisis is complicated, yet it is solvable since there are no deep divisions in the Libyan society.

On the steps that the Libyan political reconciliation process could go through, Abdul Salam said: “We are aware that currently the conflict in Libya is because of power and authority therefore Libyans should play the major role in solving it. The role of Tunisia and other neighboring countries comes after that.”

He also reminded Libyans that Tunisia is not trying to teach them a lesson, but that they could benefit from its experience in overcoming political conflicts.

Regarding Ennahda Party’s relation with other political parties in Tunisia and whether it overcame trust issues with several political leaderships, Abdul Salam said that politics is not based upon desires and wishes but on balances, and this is a major criteria in building new institutions. He also highlighted the importance of considering Ennahda Party as part of the ruling fabric.

He pointed out that ruling does not necessarily mean participating in the government. In Tunisia, he said, “the parties agreed on distributing power and Ennahda Party already had its social and parliamentary importance, so when politicians agreed on establishing a new parliamentary system the power was distributed among all political parties without exceptions.”

In spite of facing some difficulties, Tunisia succeeded in moving from the centralization of power to the distribution of power, and “we cannot deny that the political class in Tunisia is still trying to adapt with this new political fact.”