Leaders meeting in Rome to focus on peace agreement for Libya

World Today

Foreign ministers were poised to endorse a U.N.-brokered national unity plan for Libya at a Rome conference aimed at prodding the North Africa country’s bickering factions to fulfill their commitment to sign the agreement and abide by its terms. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

Diplomats from the U.S., EU, the African Union, the Arab League, the U.N., and others and have met in Rome to try to bring peace to Libya. Their calling on the country’s rivaling factions to sign a unity government deal on Wednesday, proposed by the U.N.

CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reports the coastal African nation has been gripped by violence since then-President Moammar Gadhafi was ousted and killed in 2011.

Leaders meet in Rome for Libya peace agreement

Leaders meet in Rome for Libya peace agreement

Diplomats from the U.S., EU, the African Union, the Arab League, the U.N., and others and have met in Rome to try to bring peace to Libya. Their calling on the country's rivaling factions to sign a unity government deal on Wednesday, proposed by the U.N.

Also in attendance at the Rome conference were delegates from Libya’s rival parliaments.

Diplomats warn their bickering may lead to a power vacuum that could be filled by the Islamic State group, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh.

“We cannot allow the status quo in Libya to continue. It is dangerous for the viability of Libya, it is dangerous for Libyans, and now because of the increased presence of Daesh purposefully migrating there, it is dangerous for everyone,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

The country currently has two competing legislatures: the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) — a loose alliance of militias, including Islamists — and the internationally-recognized House of Representatives that the GNC overran in 2014. It now operates in the Eastern city of Tobruk.

Earlier in December at a secret meeting in Tunisia — without the U.N. in attendance — representatives from the two parliaments agreed to “a declaration of principles.” Namely, a committee that would nominate a prime minister, and another which would review the constitution.

That’s not enough, according to the U.N. It wants a more inclusive process. The U.N. plan – proposed and agreed to, in principle, back in October – calls for a unity government within 40 days, as well as a nine-person Presidency Council. The council would appoint a cabinet, a new oil chief, and have the power to authorize outside assistance to help fight against ISIL. The group has been gaining a foothold in the Libyan city of Sirte.

Last week, hundreds gathered in Tripoli’s main square to oppose the U.N. deal.

“Europe and America have persisted in wanting the U.N. agreement to be accepted. I say this agreement has nothing to do with the Libyan equation,” protester Hamid Al-Zawawi said.

he U.N. plan is due to be signed in Morocco on Wednesday. In Rome on Sunday, diplomats said those who try to block it will be dealt with.

“This agreement has been passed and now all Libyans must support it, and those who won’t support it will be fought,” French Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir said.

Western leaders fear the security crisis in Libya – just a few hundred kilometers from Europe’s shores – could spiral out of control, leading to a refugee crisis like the one in Syria.

They’re also concerned the oil-rich country’s reserves could get into the wrong hands. The U.N. Envoy for Libya has told the security council in New York that Libya is “in a race against time.” He’s hoping an internationally-backed unity deal may help stop the clock.