Update on Libya

Update on Libya

On May 29th, 2018 Libyan officials Khalifa Hifter, Fayez al-Sarraj, Khalid Mishri and Aguila Saleh, alongside French president Emmanuel Macron, agreed to a framework regarding presidential and parliamentary elections for Libya later in the year.[1] The multilateral framework-officially known as the Political Declaration on Libya-outlines the dates on which election rules are to be set and elections will be held; September 16th and December 10th respectively.[2] Moreover, the unification of the Libyan Bank and encouraging the continuation of the Cairo dialogue are also highlighted in the framework.[3] Three years ago, in 2015, the United Nations (UN) established the Government of National Accord (GNA). This body is led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and it governs western Libya. However, to the east, General Khalifa Hafter exercises control. Khalid Mishri was recently elected to the GNA advisory body-the High Council of State. Aguila Saleh Issa serves as speaker of the House of Representatives for General Hafter. Following the ousting and death of former Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, conflicts over the control of oil production, flow of migrants and governance consume the state.


A former Italian colony, Libya is not unfamiliar with external intervention. The leadership of Mr. Macron indicates the potential for a greater international presence in Libya and subsequent political decisions. While both the Arab Spring and other regional conflicts put the Libyan conflict at low priority for many international actors, the recent meetings suggest that Libyan officials are willing to provide peace and cohesion. The declaration encourages international actors, such as Tunisia, Russia and France, to ensure stability within Libya. A neighbor to the west, Tunisia has great interest in preserving any future stability in Libya as regional stability is mutually beneficial. One year after Russia’s Rosneft Oil Company signed an investment deal with Libya’s National Oil Company, Russia may look to become more involved in the Libyan affairs to ensure the deal is upheld.[4] With goals to protect oil production, use Libyan soil for anti-access/ariel denying systems and emphasize their success in the global fight on terror, Russia also could become more involved in Libya.[5] Additionally, France will noticeably continue to moderate dialogue among Libyan leaders, highlighting its role in international institutions like that of the UN.[6] The Political Declaration on Libya encourages states to monitor any future stability in the region; however, an overwhelming international presence may add unnecessary complications.


By Morgan Bedford (Program Associate with PDC).


[1]Rubin, Alissa J. “Libyan Factions Agree to Elections Despite Deep Divisions.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 May 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/world/middleeast/libya-macron-factions-elections.html?action=click&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer&contentCollection=Middle%2BEast.

[2]République, Présidence de la. “Déclaration Politique Sur La Libye.” Www.elysee.fr, www.elysee.fr/communiques-de-presse/article/declaration-politique-sur-la-libye/.


[4] Lewis, Aidan. “UPDATE 1-Russia’s Rosneft, Libya’s NOC Sign Oil Offtake Deal.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 21 Feb. 2017, www.reuters.com/article/libya-oil-rosneft-oil/update-1-russias-rosneft-libyas-noc-sign-oil-offtake-deal-idUSL8N1G61XJ.

[5]“Libya: A Fractured State.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/event/libya-fractured-state.

[6]Wires, News. “Libyan Factions Commit to Dec. 10 Elections at Paris Talks.” France 24, France 24, 29 May 2018, www.france24.com/en/20180529-libya-factions-commit-december-10-elections-paris-talks-seraj-haftar.