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A Decisive Moment in Libya


FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2016 file photo, U.N. special envoy for Libya Martin Kobler, left, is greeted by Fayez Serraj, Libyan designated-prime minister and head of the presidential council, in Cairo, Egypt.

U.S. supports Libya's Government of National Accord.

Nearly five years ago, Libyans of every creed worked together to topple the brutal regime of long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The divisive political struggle that followed destabilized the country and Libya descended into factional strife and violence.

Eventually two rival governments emerged--the internationally-recognized House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the Tripoli-based General National Congress in the west. The discord and lack of a united, effective central authority created a security vacuum that was, and is, exploited by violent extremists and human smugglers.

Last December, after four years of in-fighting and more than a year of negotiations, representatives of Libya's two rival governments signed the Libya Political Agreement to form a national unity government, the Government of National Accord. On March 10, the Libyan Political Dialogue stated that the Libyan Political Agreement is the only legitimate framework for bringing an end to Libya’s political crisis and military conflict and urged the new Government’s leaders to begin their work in Tripoli rapidly. In response, on March 12 the Libyan Presidency Council, headed by Prime Minister Fayyez al Sarraj, called on the country's institutions to begin a transfer of authority to the UN-backed unity government.

Achieving reconciliation in Libya is not going to be any easier than achieving it in other places, but we know that after decades of dictatorship and years of upheaval that is the best option for the 6 million plus people of Libya.”

In a formal statement, representatives of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union stated on March 13 that they will fully support Libya’s Government of National Accord as proposed by the Presidency Council, and acknowledged the statement of 23 February signed by a majority of members of the House of Representatives in which they announced their support for the Government of National Accord.

They also said that they intend to work closely with the Government of National Accord as the only legitimate government in Libya.

“We urge members of the Libyan Political Dialogue who reaffirmed their support for the new prime minister and the Presidency Council to move rapidly to Tripoli. And we call on all Libyan public institutions to facilitate a peaceful and orderly handover of power so that Libya’s new leaders can begin to govern from Libya’s capital,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Achieving reconciliation in Libya is not going to be any easier than achieving it in other places, but we know that after decades of dictatorship and years of upheaval that is the best option for the 6 million plus people of Libya.”

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