Sarraj launches conference to confront crisis

With UN to re-open dialogue and vote. Italy backs initiative

17 June, 11:29

    (by Rodolfo Calò) (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, JUNE 17 - Libyan Premier Fayez al-Sarraj, with the UN's support, has launched a proposal to resolve the Libyan crisis that has generated a military stalemate with clashes in the southern districts of Tripoli: a conference to re-open political dialogue and outline a path to elections to be scheduled by the end of this year.

    The initiative, which rules out the involvement of General Khalifa Haftar and his forces that have been besieging the capital since the beginning of April, has immediately received the backing of the UN support mission and Italy.

    Sarraj, with a speech held in Tripoli, has proposed to hold a ''Libyan forum'' that would take place ''in coordination with the mission of the United Nations'' in Libya, in which ''all Libyan forces'' should be represented provided they have ''political and social influence and are asking for a peaceful and democratic solution''.

    The forum, according to the premier, should agree on a ''roadmap'' and a ''constitutional base'' to ''hold presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously before the end of 2019''.

    There appeared to be no conditions for Haftar to take part in the forum from Sarraj's speech, in which he was never named.

    ''I will continue to pursue my battle to resist against despotism'', the premier said, referring to the conflict that has left over 650 dead and over 3,500 injured and is flaring intermittently some 20 km from downtown Tripoli.

    Sarraj described it as a ''fight'' to ''reject the aggressor and end his dictatorial project'', implicitly referring to the strongman of Cyrenaica that has declared that he controls many areas of the country (or at least its main roads) and 90% of oil installations. ''There is no room for those invoking despotism and dictatorship, who have blood on their hands'', was the message of the premier's press office.

    Overall, the general's side does not appear to be willing to negotiate before its forces have ''freed Tripoli'', as noted this week by the president of the Libyan parliament, Aqila Saleh.

    Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero has ''confirmed Italy's convinced support for conciliatory action in Libya of UN envoy'' Ghassan Salamè ''for the initiative of a national conference, announced today by President Serraj, to resume negotiations to stabilize the country''.

    Sarraj's ''constructive proposal'' is aimed at promoting the ''political process towards the end of the long conflict'' in Libya, stressed UNSMIL, the UN mission in Libya.

    Sarraj asked countries of the ''international community'' to ''support this initiative'' and to be ''firmer with the aggressor'', referring to Haftar, starting an investigation ''into war crimes'' and crimes ''against humanity perpetrated in the attack against the capital and other Libyan cities''.


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