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The African Union (AU) High Level Committee on Libya held its meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government on 7 July 2019, on the margins of the inaugural AU –RECs Coordination Summit in Niamey, Niger. The Meeting was convened at the initiative of the Committee Chair H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo. Their Excellences, the Presidents of the Republics of Chad, Niger and South Africa attended the meeting. The Prime Minister of Algeria, as well the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia also attended the meeting. Mauritania and Ethiopia were represented by their respective Ambassadors. Furthermore, the Chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, accompanied by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, participated in the meeting. The Prime Minister of Libya also attended the meeting.

The meeting received a progress report from the Chairperson of the High-level Committee on its activities. It also received a briefing by the Chairperson of the Commission, as well as a presentation by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the situation in Libya, including the plight of migrants and refugees.

The Committee welcomed the Communiqué of the 857th meeting of the AU PSC held on 5 July 2019 on the situation in Libya and that of the African migrants in this country. The Committee also welcomed the outcome of the AU Troika Consultative meeting on Libya held in Cairo, Egypt on 23 April 2019 at the initiative of the Chairperson of the Union and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdelfattah El-Sissi.

The Committee was appalled by the savage attack, on 3 July 2019, on the Tajoura Migrants Camp, near Tripoli and expressed its condolences to the families of the migrants and refugees that lost their lives. The Committee wished speedy recovery to all those who were injured in the attack.

The Committee strongly condemned this barbaric attack and expressed its full support for the call made by the AU Peace and Security Council for the conduct of an urgent independent investigation to determine the facts and perpetrators of this tragedy which befell innocent migrants looking for better opportunities to improve their lives. The Committee called for severe punishment against the perpetrators, once identified through the investigation.

During its deliberations, the Committee undertook an evaluation of the implementation of its Roadmap for support to the peace efforts in Libya. This Roadmap was endorsed by the 31st Ordinary session of the Assembly of the Union held in Addis Ababa in February 2019. In doing so, the Committee identified additional steps to be taken to promote a durable solution to the prevailing situation in Libya.

The Committee further expressed concern that, owing to the weakened condition of state institutions since the tragic event of 2011, Libya has been caused to become a safe haven for terrorism and extremist groups, mercenaries, criminals, drug and human traffickers and illegal suppliers of arms, as well as unregulated migration. It therefore stressed that the search for a solution to a crisis in Libya should first and foremost be focused on the revitalization of the Libyan state and its institutions, which will enable the country to confront the prevailing multiple challenges.

The Committee expressed its solidarity with the people of Libya and once more appealed to the Libyan stakeholders to place the national interest of their country above all other interests. In this spirit, the Committee encouraged the Libyans to engage in a genuine dialogue, which will allow them to overcome their differences and achieve the necessary consensus towards restoring durable peace, security, stability and harmony in Libya. In this context, the Committee reiterated that there cannot be a military solution to the crisis in Libya and underlined the imperative for a political approach to the crisis.

The Committee reiterated the centrality of the African Union with the support of the United Nations in the search for a durable solution to the crisis in Libya. It further appealed to the Libyan stakeholders to create a conducive environment for promoting dialogue and national reconciliation with the support of the Peace and Security Council, the AU, and the neighboring countries.

The Committee reaffirmed the imperative for all to respect the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya. In this respect, the Committee expressed its deep concern over the persistent external interferences in the internal affairs of Libya, motivated by selfish interests, which continue to undermine the efforts to put in place a permanent and unconditional ceasefire, as a necessary condition for dialogue and inclusive solution, owned and led by the Libyans themselves. It aligned itself with the posture taken by the PSC at its 857th meeting held on 5 July 2019 on the situation in Libya and the plight of migrants to proceed to naming and shaming those involved in interfering in the internal affairs of Libya.

The Committee supported the call of the AU Peace and Security Council to the UN Security Council to play its role, as provided for in Chapter VII of the UN Charter, in contributing effectively and more proactively to finding a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya which is the consequence of the events of 2011 with the bombardment of Libya.

The Committee proposed the appointment of a joint special envoy of the AU and the UN with a view to enhancing coordination and strengthening the efforts of the two organizations, on the basis of a single roadmap to be elaborated by that joint special envoy, as a tool for provisions of unified support to the peace efforts of the Libyans. In this regard, the Committee appealed to the Chairperson of the AU Commission to engage the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to this effect.

The Committee expressed its appreciation to H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo for his leadership and tireless efforts in the search for a durable solution to the crisis in Libya.

Posted by Jonathan Doe

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