Blinken discusses Libyan elections with interim prime minister

The US is urging Libya’s interim government to proceed with December elections

Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, right, meets Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, in Tripoli. AFP
Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, right, meets Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, in Tripoli. AFP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed Libya’s new interim government during a phone call on Monday with interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

“Secretary Blinken and interim Prime Minister Dbeibah emphasised the importance of ending the conflict through an inclusive political process, providing essential public services and ensuring free, fair and credible elections on December 24, 2021,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Libya’s interim government assumed power last week under Mr Dbeibah and a three-member presidential council after months of intensive UN-brokered diplomacy geared at ending a years-long civil war.

Prior to the interim government, Libya was divided between two rival administrations – one based in Tripoli and the other based in the eastern city of Tobruk.

The conflict has also become a magnet for international and regional powers vying for influence in the divided country. The ceasefire last year that paved the way for the interim government – and eventual elections – also requires all foreign actors and their mercenaries to immediately leave Libya.

“The secretary and the interim prime minister also stressed the need for full implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed on October 23, 2020, including the removal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay,” said Mr Price.

The UAE, Egypt and Turkey have publicly welcomed Libya’s temporary governing authority.

Updated: March 22, 2021 10:31 PM

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