The Libyan Group for Peace, an independent movement based in the Tunisian capital Tunis, unveiled an initiative on Thursday aimed at achieving political reconciliation in the troubled North African country.
The group includes representatives from Libya’s main rival camps, including Gaddafi loyalists, pro-revolution figures, and individuals close to Tobruk-based strongman Khalifa Haftar.
“The best solution to the Libyan crisis is some kind of national authority that represents all segments of the Libyan people,” group member Ashour al-Arifi said at a Wednesday evening press conference in Tunis.
Al-Arifi, who supported the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Gaddafi, added: “And this authority should implement a genuine national project — which the Libyan people can rally around — aimed at achieving comprehensive national reconciliation.”
Since Gaddafi’s ouster and death more than seven years ago, Libya has remained dogged by turmoil, with the country’s stark political divisions yielding two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily-armed militia groups.
“We must overcome the current crisis gradually, starting with pressure on Libya’s [Tripoli-based] Presidential Council to cede authority to a national mini-government of technocrats,” al-Arifi said.
The initiative, he added, is ultimately aimed at “ending all conflict in Libya and dissolving all [unsanctioned] armed formations”.
Youssef Kashuna, a Gaddafi loyalist and head of the Tunis-based group, explained: “Our initiative doesn’t favour any particular side at the expense of another. All Libyans and international parties are invited to join.”
Salah al-Din al-Jamali, the Cairo-based Arab League’s envoy for Libya, hailed the scheme, saying: “The most important thing is to save Libya and this requires concessions from all parties.”
“However,” he added, “the conditions needed for a successful outcome can only be achieved if social conditions — and the security situation — improve drastically in Libya.”
The UN has struggled in recent years to help resolve Libya’s internal conflict, recently unveiling a political “roadmap” for the country’s future.
The plan includes parliamentary and presidential polls to be held before the end of 2018 — a scenario that many observers, both inside and outside Libya, describe as unrealistic.