Rome, AP—World diplomats worked Thursday to try to help Libya create a stable government and more secure environment amid the violence and growing political tensions that have festered since Muammar Gaddafi’s regime crumbled in 2011.
The meeting of foreign ministers, mostly from the West and Gulf states, focused largely on easing disagreements among Libya’s diverse tribal, religious and ethnic populations, looking toward writing a new constitution and holding elections this year. The ministers are also working to secure the weapons and ammunition left over from the Gaddafi regime to help bring more security to the country.
“Those mostly uncontrolled materials are a threat to the entire region,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the conference, adding that Germany and France are allocating several million euros for the weapons-securing project this year.
US Secretary of State John Kerry shared a warm handshake with Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan at the start of the meeting at Italy’s foreign ministry. He also met with Nouri Abu Sahmein, the Islamist-leaning president of Libya’s parliament.
Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who hosted the conference, said the international community wants to give the Libyan people support.
She said they are suffering “far beyond what was expected and would be normal” from uncontrolled circulation of weapons and other violence.
The Libyan parliament’s term expired last month, but lawmakers voted to extend it and hold new elections in the spring.
Protesters have been holding daily demonstrations demanding parliament be dissolved.