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Libya's future between the threats of terrorism and a democratic prospect

Libya's future between the threats of terrorism and a democratic prospect was the focus of a hearing organised by PACE’s Political Affairs Committee, in Paris on 24 May 2016, in the framework of the preparation of a report on the subject by Attila Korodi (Romania, EPP/CD).

“My report intends not only to focus on the crucial security issues that threaten Libya, but also on the transition of the country towards democracy, a long and very difficult road which we all, as Council of Europe parliamentarians, should closely follow”, Mr Korodi said opening the hearing. “The main challenges Libya is facing today are notably the internationally coordinated efforts to effectively fight Daesh; offering humanitarian support to the Libyan people, including to the almost one million internally displaced persons; improving the life of ordinary citizens; restoring peace, social stability and economic prosperity. Last but not least, protecting and promoting human rights”.

“Libya is currently at a crossroad”, said Muin Shreim, Director of Political Affairs of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). “We now have a political agreement, one that took almost a year to reach, but an agreement that appears in the middle of a fragmented Libyan society. It is now time to implement such agreement with serious challenges surrounding it: very weak state institutions, the collapse of security structures, the polarisation of the regional policies in the neighbouring countries following the Arab Spring, and the fact that not all the stakeholders who signed the agreement are now ready to endorse it. All this in the middle of an extremely tense security and economic situation, aside from the issue of Daesh”, Mr Shreim said. “Fortunately, the international community is united in supporting the agreement that has been reached on supporting the government in place. In spite of the very good sign given by the international support, the many obstacles that the Libyans are facing must be dealt with locally”.

“The European Union is doing all it can. We wish we could do more in terms of programme aid, but we lack a real interlocutor, a real government in the country ”, said Lorenzo Kluzer, Desk officer for Libya of the European Commission External Action Service. “Any division of the country in two would not only be unworkable but could lead to who knows how many more divisions. Today, we have a government in Tripoli, the situation is much better than a few months ago, and the international community is, at least officially, squarely behind the agreement. We have the peace roadmap in place for moving forward. We should not forget however that the economic situation is at least as critical as the security one”, he stated, warning that time was of the essence.

Kader Abderrahim, Research fellow at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, Lecturer at Sciences-Po, Paris, said that “we are facing an extremely fragile process. With Daesh we are facing a player who does not accept the rules of the game, destabilising Libya. The government in place is not entirely legitimate because it has not been validated by the parliament. It is clear, however, that we must support such a government, however fragile it may be, while finding parallel ways to include the rest of Libyans who oppose it. For we must not forget that there are many others actors who have quite different interests compared to those of the authorities in place.”

Mr Korodi announced that he intends to pay a fact-finding visit to Tunisia within the next few months in the framework of the preparation of his report.