Ending conflict in Libya can only be achieved through a political deal, Libyan and regional leaders said Wednesday after African Union-led talks.
“The only solution to bring an end to the current crisis in Libya is a political settlement,” Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Dayri said after meeting with the AU’s International Contact Group for Libya, ahead of a summit Friday of the continent’s leaders in the 54-nation bloc.
The Contact Group, set up by the AU’s Peace and Security Council, includes regional nations — Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia — as well as the Arab League, European Union and United Nations.
“The situation in Libya cannot be resolved by force, but only by a political agreement between Libyans themselves,” said Jacob Enoh Eben, spokesman for AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. “The AU is ready to support them in this goal.”
Libya has been wracked by conflict since the overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 uprising, with rival governments and powerful militias battling for control of key cities and the country’s vast oil riches.
“We are aware that many African nations have voiced their concerns at the increasingly deteriorating security situation in Libya,” Dayri told reporters after the meeting.
“We are aware of the spillover… this situation has represented for Mali, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Egypt and Chad.”
Several countries, such as Niger and Chad, had been in favour of military action to target extremist and jihadi groups in Libya, but now support a political solution, diplomats said.
“A dozen armed groups control territory in Libya,” UN envoy for the Sahel region, Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, told AFP. “Military intervention cannot make sense… We need a political consensus.”
A second round of UN-brokered peace talks between Libya’s warring factions ended in Geneva on Tuesday. “The work done in Geneva is encouraging,” Dayri added.