Scepticism as France convenes Libya peace conference

Many analysts are skeptical that the initiative, which brings together four senior figures representing Libya's factions as well as neighboring countries and regional powers, will achieve any significant progress.

Scepticism as France convenes Libya peace conference

World Bulletin / News Desk

Rival Libyan leaders vying for influence in the fractured, war-scarred country met in Paris on Tuesday for a major peace conference seen as a risky French-backed push for a political settlement in the country.

Years of mediation by the United Nations, as well as former colonial power Italy, have failed to bring stability to the north African nation which descended into chaos after the ousting of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

"The period that we are in... requires decisions," Macron said as he welcomed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, to the presidential palace on Tuesday morning.

Macron stressed there was a "desire for reconciliation while leaving a sovereign people to decide for themselves".

His remarks pointed to the main focus of the meeting: agreeing a political roadmap which will commit all parties to parliamentary and presidential elections this year -- an approach not favoured by everyone.

"I believe that elections are a big risk in a country armed like Libya," Federica Saini Fasanotti, an analyst with the Washington-based Brookings Institution, told AFP.

There is also disagreement over what should come first: voting for a new constitution, or presidential and parliamentary elections.

"While the Italians, Turkish, Qataris and to a large extent the Americans believe the constitution comes before elections, on the other side, the French, Egyptians and Emiratis want elections first," Mohamed Eljarh, from the Libya Outlook consulting firm said.

Also, despite French efforts to convene all the leading players from the oil-rich country, militias from the city of Misrata have boycotted proceedings, leaving western Libya under-represented at the talks.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Mayıs 2018, 12:44