Politics & Economics

Libya: Neighbouring Countries Reject Foreign Interference

North Africa

Foreign Ministers of Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, Sudan and Niger gathered in Algiers to discuss a solution to the conflict in Libya. All sides expressed agreement against foreign interference in the country.

As the conflict between the forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) continues, the neighbours of Libya are taking an increasingly active role in finding a solution to the crisis. At present, the main concern of Libya’s neighbours is the increasing foreign involvement in the country following Turkey’s decision to send military assistance to the GNA, including fighters from the Syrian National Army (SNA), as well as rumours of Russian backing in the LNA.

To this end, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, Sudan and Niger gathered in Algeria to discuss the situation in Libya. Coming after the Libya Peace Summit in Berlin where the opposition towards foreign interference was a main focus, the summit in Algeria aimed to continue the political process towards the resolution of the conflict. During the summit, Algeria’s Foreign Minister, Sabri Boukadoum, emphasised that a national dialogue that involves all actors in Libya is the main option for peace in the country. The ministers have called for an end to all weapons transfers into the country.

Notably, not all countries in attendance shared the same views. Egypt, in particular, expressed reservations about allowing “terrorist groups” to participate in the talks. Holding a staunchly hostile position towards Turkey, the Egyptian definition of “terrorists” almost certainly involves the SNA, many militias affiliated with the GNA, as well as political figures within the GNA as well. For its part, the GNA itself rejected the legitimacy of the Algeria summit.

According to analysts, the current process is aimed at moving Libya away from the present and polarising figures such as Fayez al-Sarraj, Khalifa Haftar and Aguila Saleh. It is hoped that this can be achieved through transparent and independent elections.

Getting there, however, will be challenging. All the outside actors involved in Libya have entrenched interests in the country that will keep them from accepting any outcome that doesn’t benefit them. The GNA’s rejection of the legitimacy of the Algeria summit is indeed one such sign. Similarly, the fact that this summit about rejecting foreign interference in Libya did not invite any representatives from either Libyan factions is telling itself.