Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz called on the Arab League to back Egypt’s initiative to stabilize Libya and disarm its Islamist militias.
Arab League foreign ministers are set to meet in Cairo on Sunday to discuss a number of contention issues, including the situation unfolding in Libya. The Tripoli-based Islamist-dominated former parliament swore in a new government on Saturday as the new parliament, based out of Tobruk, is set to swear in a new government on Sunday.
“We hope that the Arab League will primarily focus on helping Libya in terms of preparing a genuine plan that reflects Arab consensus on how to support Libya, in addition to setting up a mechanism for the implementation of the plan,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Cairo has been seeking to drum up regional and international support to ensure the success of its Libya initiative, including receiving officials from Tobruk. Libya is in the midst of a political and security crisis as two rival governments—one based in the west in Tripoli, and one based in Tobruk in the east—vye for control of the country. The Arab League has primarily been dealing with the new Tobruk-based parliament, rejecting the legitimacy of the Islamist-dominated assembly in Tripoli.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby met with Abdelaziz on Saturday to discuss the latest developments in Libya and prepare for the Arab ministerial meeting.
When asked about the NATO’s willingness to intervene in Libya, Abdelaziz said that the Libyan people, government and parliament oppose any military intervention in the country.
He said: “We are calling for more effective involvement on the part of the international community, including expanding the UN mission to provide stability and institute-building,” he added.
“We hope that regional powers, on the level of the Arab League, African Union, EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council, will also be more involved so as to achieve a political consensus regarding support for Libya,” he added.
As for the possibility of holding a dialogue between the rival armed militias, the Tobruk government’s top diplomat called on the Arab League to support national dialogue talks to help reach a political consensus in the country which would include dialogue between rival armed groups.
The Arab League meeting will discuss ways to strengthen Libya’s legitimate political institutes and confront attempts at creating illegitimate bodies, Abdelaziz told reporters during a press conference in Cairo on Saturday.