Libya sends envoys to Morocco and Mauritania after Tunis talks on Arab Maghreb Union

Al Menfi emphasises need to include Morocco in any plans for restoration of regional bloc's role

Mohamed Al Menfi, Chairman of the Tripoli-based Libyan Presidential Council, is intensifying regional diplomatic efforts. AFP
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The Chairman of Libya’s Presidential Council, Mohamed Al Menfi, sent two envoys to Morocco and Mauritania on Wednesday, to deliver a message about plans for the Arab Maghreb Union.

It came after a meeting in Tunis on Monday between Mr Al Menfi, Tunisia's President Kais Saied and President Abdelmajid Tebboune of Algeria, the Moroccan state news agency MAP reported.

The leaders discussed ways to revive the Maghreb Union’s role in the region.

The Arab Maghreb Union was established in 1989 to improve relations between the Maghreb states – Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia – and to tackle regional issues.

Mondays meeting had been criticised for not including representatives from Morocco and Mauritania.

But in a message to King Mohammed VI of Morocco, envoy Sami Al Menfi said Libya emphasised the need to include Morocco in any plans regarding the restoration of the union's role.

Abubakr Ibrahim Attawil, charge d’affaires at Libya’s embassy in Rabat, credited Morocco’s “active role in favour of Maghreb integration”.

He said it was necessary to intensify efforts to strengthen the Maghreb Union, to ensure more stability and prosperity for the people of the region, MAP reported.

Libyan officials also rejected any attempt to potentially create a parallel body to replace the current Arab Maghreb Union co-operation framework.

Mauritanian President Mohamedh Al Ghazouani also received on Wednesday Libyan envoy, Imad Al Falah, at the presidential palace in the capital Nouakchott.

Mr Al Falah delivered a similar message of Maghreb unity from Mr Al Menfi.

Libya called on Mr Al Ghazouani to back efforts to revive the Union and seek further intrastate co-ordination at all levels, the official Mauritanian News Agency reported.

It has been previously reported that Mauritania rejected taking part in any form of consultation regarding the status of the regional bloc without the presence of Morocco.

Local Mauritanian news outlets had also reported Mr Saied's first official state visit to Mauritania – the first by a Tunisian president since 2012 – which was scheduled for this month, was abruptly cancelled due Mauritania's absence from the Tunis talks.

At its establishment in Marrakesh, the Arab Maghreb Union’s vision was to create a borderless region between its five member states, ensure free movement of people and goods and adopt joint strategic policies.

However, the Union has faced several obstacles throughout the years and has not been able to attain its goals due to continuing political and diplomatic feuds between its member states, mainly Algeria and Morocco.

No official summit involving all five member states of the Arab Maghreb Union had taken place since its 1994 summit in Tunis.

The leaders of three Libyan political bodies agreed last month to work on forming a unity government in the divided country after talks in Cairo hosted by the Arab League.

A political process to resolve more than a decade of conflict in Libya has stalled since a UN-backed plan to hold elections in December 2021 collapsed amid disputes over electoral laws and the eligibility of the main candidates. The country remains divided between rival governments in the west in Tripoli and the east in Benghazi.

Updated: April 25, 2024, 7:53 AM