Libya: a way out of the crisis

Libya: a way out of the crisis

Editorial Staff
The conference organized by the IAI [International Affairs Institute] in Rome was an opportunity to take stock of the first 75 days of Sarraj's government. According to Gentiloni: "progress has been made that the international community must seize and cultivate"

"Slowly, with contradictions and political problems still open, in the last 2 and a half months, progress has been made in Libya that the international community must seize and cultivate, without illusion of hopes for miraculous solutions in the short term". 75 days since the incredible establishment of the government of Fayez Al-Sarraj in Tripoli, this is the picture painted by Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, during a conference organized by the IAI in Rome on the Libyan crisis. "The game is very complex," admitted Gentiloni, and "it would be imprudent to consider the bet won because progress has been made". However, there are positive signs on both the political level, with the international acknowledgement of the authority of the Government of National Accord (GNA), and in terms of security, with the recent victories over ISIS. "It is very encouraging that the Libyan forces have gained a lot of ground towards Sirte," explained the minister, emphasizing that in order to conduct the operation against Daesh were the militias of Misrata and the guards of the oil resources, while General Khalifa Haftar, the main opponent of the GNA, "did not play any role. He was absent".

Libya must remain united

The stabilization process that began 6 months ago with the Skhirat agreements and continued with the establishment of the GNA must now be able to "include" the factions that still contradict each other, starting with that led by Haftar. The diplomacies "are working" to get him to acknowledge Sarraj’s government, imagining for the General "a role in the future of Libya." On the other hand, warned Gentiloni, "the only alternative to the lack of stabilization is division, which would be a bad thing for everyone, especially for Italy". The unity of the country is "essential" to avoiding the "risk" that different "realities perpetually in conflict" will be created and so that Libya can make the best use of its "important resources." Reaching an understanding, therefore, with the forces of General Haftar, who benefits from great support in Eastern Libya and can count on the support of the Unites Arab Emirates and Egypt, "would be a significant step and this is the time to try," advised Gentiloni, ensuring that "Italy can make a significant contribution" to that effect.

A reconciliation from the "bottom-up"

Moreover, the reconciliation process necessarily passes through solutions that answer the needs of the various local realities and enable the consent of the people for the Government to grow. The Presidential Council has international recognition", explains the former security advisor of the Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Rahman al-Ageli, "but this is not enough. It must obtain its legitimacy by rebuilding a relationship with local identities". Therefore, "a bottom-up process" is necessary, involving the players who are most in contact with the territory. In order to contain the centrifugal forces and guide Libya on its path to stabilization, the role of the international community remains ultimately crucial, and this community, according to Gentiloni, must "seize and cultivate" the progress made. "While differences remain between the various international players, the level of convergence on the Libyan crisis is quite satisfactory," said the Italian minister. While the director of the North Africa Program of the International Crisis Group stresses that "although officially all international players support the GNA, in terms of actual behavior, there are various shades." Even more explicit was Claudia Gazzini, senior analyst in Tripoli of the International Crisis Group: "If there was a unique and consistent international support towards the Government, we would come full circle, but the problem is that this support is in words, not actions."