Libya Herald reporters.
London, 14 September 2017:
A Libyan election next year should not be organised hastily, had to be accepted by all parties and required a constitution, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson told a London meeting on Libya today.
He said he thought a 2018 election was in the right timescale but cautioned: “It is very important however, that you don’t do it too fast and that you get the political groundwork done first”.
Johnson was hosting the new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé along with four foreign ministers; US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Italy’s Angelino Alfano, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry and Anwar bin Mohamed Gargash from the UAE.
French president Emmanuel Macron, who last month brought the Presidency Council’s Faiez Serraj and Khalifa Hafter together in Paris, sent his government’s political director Nicolas de Rivière.
Johnson did not explain how any new constitution could be submitted, as required, to a referendum in advance of the general election. The Constitution Drafting Assembly’s final proposals are disputed by some its members. Thus Johnson’s silence here prompts speculation the international community may be moving to supporting the return, at least temporarily, of the 1951 federalist constitution, torn up after Muammar Qaddafi’s 1969 coup.
It is understood that UNSMIL’s Salamé gave the meeting details of the plan he has put together in the hope of breaking the current political deadlock.
Ahead of today’s meeting, Tillerson is reported to have told US London embassy staff that his plan for Libyan was to “ Knot their peace process together and put Libya back together”.