Egyptian FM: Protests Highlight Need for Libyan Elections

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Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said that the recent unrest and demonstrations in Libya indicate that a large segment of Libyans are not satisfied with the postponement of the general elections.

During a joint press conference with his Austrian counterpart, on Sunday, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said Cairo rejects military solutions in Libya. He stressed that dialogue is the only way to hold presidential and parliamentarian elections as soon as possible.

The Egyptian FM noted that the efforts made by the constitutional track meetings in Cairo and then in Geneva, and the meetings of the 5+5 (JMC) Joint Military Commission, were to establish the ceasefire.

He pointed out that Egypt supported the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), but it was not implemented, and the timeframe for implementing the road map was exceeded.

“The Libyan House of Representatives (HoR), which is the recognised legislative body in the country, has assigned a new government to the country during the last period, and Egypt continues to push towards achieving a Libyan consensus that leads towards holding elections,” the Egyptian FM added.

The Egyptian top diplomat called for respecting the legitimacy of the HoR and the Presidential Council and working to push towards holding elections, removing all foreign forces from Libya and solving the problem of presence of armed formations.

Protesters broke into the headquarters of the Libyan eastern-based Parliament in Tobruk on Friday evening. They set parts of it on fire amid protests over months of failed efforts to set the divided country on a path toward elections.

Images posted online showed thick columns of smoke as the demonstrators burned tires outside and torched cars. This occurred after one protester had smashed through the compound’s gate with a bulldozer and others attacked the walls with construction tools, local media reported.

There have been rallies in other Libyan cities against continuing power cuts, rising prices and political deadlock. In the capital, Tripoli, where a rival administration holds sway, protesters called for elections. According to eyewitnesses, thousands joined a march to the Parliament building calling for the current political powers to be dissolved and elections to be held.

Recently, Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly stressed the need to find alternative trade routes with Algeria, instead of traditionally through Libya.