Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Algiers is backing the establishment of a “strong” Libyan army so long as this takes place within the framework of comprehensive national dialogue that aims to reach a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramadan Lemara said.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat following the Inter-Ministerial Council meeting held at the headquarters of the Arab League earlier this week, Lemara stressed that Algeria is backing the Arab plan to resolve the Libyan crisis.
“It is true that the Libyan issue required a lot of discussion but this resulted in positive results, most prominently a united Arab position on the issue regarding what the problems are and how to resolve them,” he said.
The security situation in Libya is continuing to deteriorate with the country split between two rival governments. The internationally recognized government of Abdullah Al-Thani, based out of Tobruk, has allied with powerful Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army forces against an Islamist-led government and parliament based out of the capital Tripoli. UN envoy Bernardino León has managed to secure national dialogue in Geneva between the rival parties with reports indicating that the first round of talks were successful.
A UN statement issued Friday following the two-day meeting confirmed that the first round of talks resulted in “an agenda that includes reaching a political agreement to form a consensual national unity government and the necessary security arrangements to end the fighting and secure the phased withdrawal of armed groups from all Libyan cities to allow the state to assert its authority over the country’s vital facilities.”
“I, personally, am happy with the decision on Libya which will deal with the deteriorating situation, particularly the support for the legitimate government and institutions and rebuilding the state infrastructure that has been destroyed over the past few years,” the Algerian foreign minister told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“It is important that we all stand together in support of the peaceful solution which can only be achieved through comprehensive national dialogue and consensus between all Libyan parties that reject violence, supporting the efforts that are being made by Libya’s neighboring states to address the crisis and all its political and security dimensions,” he added.
Lemara also called for more assistance for UN envoy León, as well as providing the “necessary” support for the Libyan government to accelerate the reconstruction and rehabilitation of state infrastructure.
He described the Arab League’s latest decisions on Libya as the “beginning” of the end of the Libyan crisis. “I believe this is a constructive basis for resolving the crisis and securing Libyan rapprochement,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
As for Algeria’s previously reservations regarding the reconstruction of the Libyan army, Lemara stressed that Algiers now strongly backs the move following the Arab League meeting and the Geneva talks.
“The decision that has been made by Arab foreign ministers is balanced, and we now have no reservations because there is a need to build a strong Libyan army and activate the military and security apparatus,” he said.
“The decision to support the Libyan was expected to have been taken earlier. Many Arab countries expressed their willingness to contribute to training and arming Libyan military cadres, and so we can now move towards this goal as an integral part of the peace process because you cannot support rebuilding the army without a political agreement for a peaceful solution.,” he added.