France has brokered negotiations held in Paris yesterday (29 May) between Libya’s rivaling factions. The main objective of the UN-sponsored conference was to secure elections in the North African country and commitments to a joint political roadmap from the warring players in the conflict. The event brought together key Libyan stakeholders and representatives of two dozen countries and international organizations, including Ageela Saleh, the head of the House of Representatives in Tobruk, Khaled Meshri, the head of the High Council of State in Tripoli, Fayez Serraj, the head of the Presidential Council, and Khalifa Haftar as head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east of Libya.
The four parties agreed verbally to an eight-point joint statement, without actually signing it, that expresses, among others, their commitment to holding parliamentary and presidential elections in the strife-torn country in December. The four rival Libyan factions, who represent a large part of Libya’s competing factions, also agreed to “accept the results of elections, and ensure appropriate funds and strong security arrangements are in place”. The statement also calls for the immediate unification of the central bank and the phasing out of parallel government and institutions and commits to supporting the creation of a national army and discussing the issue in Cairo.
During their negotiations in Paris, the four Libyan leaders came under international pressure to strike a deal leading to a political path to help bring the protracted seven-year-long conflict to an end. While France is keen on pushing for this agenda in Libya and drag all different players in the process, countries such as the United States and Italy have recently expressed their concerns over having elections without strong constitutional foundations. Paris already hosted a meeting of the rival leaders in July 2017. This international meeting was also attended by representatives of many countries as well as the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League.