Communiqué of the Meeting of the AU High Level Committee on Libya
1. Within the overall framework of efforts of the African Union to find a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya, the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, on 17 and 18 July 2016, reiterated the commitment of the AU to assist the Libyan parties in finding a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya, as well as in supporting the initiatives of the Chairman of the AU, President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, for reconciliation among all stakeholders in the country.
2. Against this background, His Excellency Idriss Deby Itno, in consultation with the members of the AU High Level Committee on Libya, held a meeting in Addis Ababa on 8 November 2016, at the level of Heads of State and Government. The meeting was attended by H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, H.E. Haile Mariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republkic of Niger, H.E. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Isselkou Ould Izidbih, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The meeting was also attended by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the leaders of the neighbouring countries of Libya, namely H.E. Omar Hassan El Bashir, President of the Republic of The Sudan, H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdelkader Messahel, Minister of Maghreb Affairs, the African Union and the League of Arab States of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, H.E. Sabri Bachtobji, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia. H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda also participated in the meeting. Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security, as well as the AU High Representative for Libya, former President Jakaya KIkwete of Tanzania, were also in attendance. H.E. Moussa Al Kouni, Deputy Chairman of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord, represented Libya. The United Nations was represented by Ambassador Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Libya.
3. H.E. President Idriss Deby Itno, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union, addressed the summit, recalling the historical role of Africa and its obligation to help the Libyan people to restore peace and security in their country. This was followed by briefings on the current situation in Libya by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, the AU High Representative for Libya, as well as the representative of Libya.
4. The High Level Committee reaffirmed its will to take back the initiative on the Libyan crisis and decided to structure its Bureau and its activities and would present a report to the forthcoming Summit of the Union, including a Roadmap on its activities. The High Level Committee requested President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo to assume the chairmanship of the High Level Committee.
5. The High Level Committee reiterated the deep concern of the AU about the prevailing humanitarian and security situation, and the deadlocked political process in Libya, marked by continuing infighting by armed militias, resulting in challenges for maintaining state authority throughout the country.
6. The High Level Committee further underscored that the AU had consistently assured Libyans of its strong support during the transition process by stressing a political solution with the firm belief that there can be no military solution to the current crisis in Libya. The High Level Committee also expressed strong support and solidarity with the people of Libya in the face of the humanitarian, social, and security challenges facing them amid the complete absence of peace in the country.
7. With regard to the political situation, while reiterating the validity of the Libyan Political Accord, the High Level Committee to resolve the political deadlock, the High Level Committee called upon all the members of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the Presidency Council to work together for the appointment of a new inclusive cabinet and establish a new Government of National Accord within the shortest time possible. In this connection, the High Level Committee urged the HoR to expeditiously endorse a new GNA, once the Presidency Council submits a new consensual and inclusive list of cabinet members, as provided for in the Libya Political Agreement. The Government, thus endorsed, should endeavour particularly to establish a national army under a single command and draft a new constitution. In the meantime, the high Level Committee called upon the current GNA to continue to perform its duties until the new members of cabinet are endorsed by the HoR and reiterated its strong support to the territorial integrity and unity of Libya.
8. The High Level Committee expressed its satisfaction with the gains made by the Libyan forces, which succeeded in recapturing Sirte, Benghazi and other parts of the territory by neutralizing the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State. It urged all Libyans and other stakeholders to pursue their efforts to reduce and eliminate all the violent extremists operating in the country, including the destruction of their affiliated criminal networks. The High Level Committee called for the end of all external interventions in the internal affairs of Libya which fuelled the conflict and undermined the peace process in the country. It also denounced the use of mercenaries who represented a long term threat to the stability of Libya and the countries of the Region.
9. The High level Committee expressed its satisfaction at the participation of the neighbouring countries of Libya in this meeting, and commended their tireless efforts and continued involvement in the search for peace, security and reconciliation, in particular within the framework of the mechanism bringing together Libya’s neighbours. In this regard, the High Level Committee recalled the positive work of the International Contact Group for Libya (ICGL), initiated by the African Union. The High Level Committee further welcomed the outcome of the 9th Ministerial meeting of the neighbouring countries of Libya, held in Niamey, Niger, on 21 March 2016. The High Level Committee also commended the efforts of the United Nations and its Special Representative, the European Union, and the League of Arab States, for their efforts to end hostilities and establish a lasting peace to the country.
10. In order to avoid the spill-over effect of the Libyan conflict, already serious in the Sahel region, from compounding the challenges faced by the countries concerned, including the proliferation of small weapons, human trafficking, terrorism, and other cross-border activities, the High Level Committee agreed on the need for the AU to strengthen the existing regional mechanisms. The High Level Committee further recommended to the forthcoming Summit of the African Union, to include the neighbouring countries of Libya as full members of the Committee.
11. Given the need to develop a strategic and forward looking approach in ensuring how the African Union, the United Nations, and the League of Arab States work together to achieve national reconciliation in Libya, the High Level Committee welcomed the establishment of the Troika representing the African Union, the League of Arab States, and the United Nations and its inaugural meeting, held in Cairo, on 25 October 2016, with the participation of the AU High Representative for Libya. In this regard, the High Level Committee requested the AU High Representative for Libya to kindly chair the Troika.
12. The High Level Committee stressed the urgency of enhanced efforts by the AU, through its High Representative, to contribute more effectively to the establishment of a new Government of National Accord and the urgent need to make additional efforts to deal with the difficult humanitarian situation of Libyans, who are internally displaced (IDPs), and the thousands of refugees, who are still outside of the country. The Summit further called for an immediate action by the United Nations and the international community for a rapid response to the plight of thousands of innocent young sons and daughters of Africa who are the victims of human trafficking transiting through the Libyan territory, with tragic consequences on their lives.
13. The High Level Committee requested the Commission to finalise the necessary modalities for the convening of a meeting of Libyan stakeholders, at a venue and on a date to be determined, in agreement with the Libyan side, to address the issue of national reconciliation, in accordance with the Kigali Assembly decision of 2016, and called upon all Libyan stakeholders to fully cooperate for the success of this initiative and stressed the need for their mobilisation to work coherently and in a united manner, as it behoves the Libyans themselves to play a primary role to restore peace and ensure the post-conflict recovery of their country.
14. The High Level Committee expressed its sincere gratitude to the African Union Commission and its High-Representative for Libya, former President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, for their dedication and continuing engagement with the Libyan and international stakeholders and encouraged them to continue with these efforts.