By Sami Zaptia.
London, 18 May 2021:
Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood and Special Envoy and U.S. Ambassador for Libya Richard Norland visited Libya today and underscored U.S. support for Libya’s December 2021 elections.
This is the highest level diplomatic visit to Tripoli since 2014. Acting Assistant Secretary Hood and Ambassador Norland met with Libyan interim Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba, Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush, Head of the Presidential Council Mohamed Menfi, and head of the High National Electoral Commission Emad al-Sayah and also discussed areas of mutual interest, including a Libyan-led, inclusive, and negotiated political solution to the conflict, facilitated through the UN and full implementation of the October 23 Libyan ceasefire agreement.
Press conference with Mangoush: Removal of all foreign military forces of all types
During the press conference with Foreign Minister Mangoush, Hood said ‘‘Today’s meetings demonstrate the commitment of the United States government and our strong diplomatic support … and our support for the progress the Libyan people have made towards an inclusive, negotiated, political solution.
The Special Envoy, Ambassador Norland and I had productive talks with his excellency the Prime Minister and her excellency the Foreign Minister on how we can support the interim Government of National Unity as it takes the necessary steps toward ensuring free and fair elections in December.
We look forward to our next meeting with the Head of the Presidency Council Mohamed Menfi.
Hood said the goal of the United States is a sovereign, stable, unified Libya with no foreign interference and a state that is capable of combating terrorism. The United States opposes all military escalation and all foreign military intervention. We oppose foreign fighters, we oppose proxy forces.
To this end, we are urging all sides – Libyan and foreign – to fully implement the ceasefire, and this includes the removal of all foreign military forces of all types.
The agreement on an electoral roadmap for elections in December is very important. It is important for national reconciliation. So, we look forward to seeing the clarification of the constitutional basis for the elections as soon as possible.
We will remain closely engaged with the Government of National Unity as it prepares for those elections and ending this conflict.
Meanwhile, Mangoush stressed during the press conference with Hood that the executive authority must provide the necessary conditions for holding elections and strengthening political legitimacy in the country by addressing security issues and extending national sovereignty on all Libyan soil.
She stressed the importance of unifying state institutions and liberating the national sovereign decision from any material or moral coercion, internally or externally.
Mangoush stressed the need to end foreign interference, provide services to citizens, develop the work of state institutions, and launch a comprehensive national reconciliation.
She reiterated Libya’s support for the Palestinian cause, condemning the use of force against the Palestinians and permitting religious sanctities, saying we adhere to the fundamentals and abide by the Security Council resolution and international legitimacy in particular.
Mangoush called for the reopening of the American embassy and consulate in both Tripoli and Benghazi, to send a message on the stability of Libya.