Crisis in Libya : EU Welcomes First Meeting of Council of Representatives

Written by | Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

The European Union has welcomed the first meeting of the Libya’s Council of Representatives held yesterday (5 August), says a statement of its spokesperson. The statement also stressed that “This is an extremely important step towards putting Libya’s democratic transition back on track and helping restore law and order to the country. We encourage [Libya’s] Council of Representatives to carry out its tasks in a spirit of inclusiveness, moderation and in the interest of the country.” Western countries have recently urged their citizens to leave Libya, as the country has fast descended into civil war. Many European countries, including Britain, Germany, France and Netherlands, have repeatedly issued warnings after their embassy staff came under attack. Some two weeks ago, as fighting raged across the country leaving 59 dead, unidentified gunmen fired also on armored vehicle evacuating UK diplomats to neighboring Tunisia close to Camp 27, the base of an Islamist militia on the western outskirts. This led the UK’s Foreign Office to urge its nationals in Libya to leave the country as soon as possible. The German foreign ministry issued a statement that “The situation is extremely unpredictable and uncertain [and] German nationals are at increased risk of kidnapping and attacks.”

With the U.S. embassy staff also having been evacuated, the international community has more or less given up on a diplomatic solution. The Italian air force said it was on stand-by for more airlifts but EU ambassadors holding a crisis meeting have ruled out a total pullout for the time being. Such an evacuation could also be widely seen as a loss of face – particularly for Paris and London – which led the NATO bombing of Libya that contributed to Gadhafi’s regime ultimate demise, and who back then proclaimed that they had delivered democracy to Libya. In its recent statement, the European Union also condemned the ongoing violence and conflict across the country, including in Tripoli and Benghazi, and expressed its deep concern about the increasing humanitarian consequences of this violence. The EU spokesperson said that the EU “[calls] upon all parties to cease hostilities and support the elected representatives of the Libyan people in building a prosperous and stable country for all Libyans.” The statement then concluded that “Libya is a crucial neighbor for Europe, with whom we wish to establish long-term and mutually beneficial relations. The EU is determined to support the Libyan people in their quest for a society based on the rule of law and democratic principles.”

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