September 23, 2019
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Descent into the Lybian quagmire

 MEPs Inés Ayala (l), Chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries, and Fabio Massimo Castaldo (r), during a press conference in Tunis about their mission to Libya, on May 22, 2018 (Photo: Javier Martín/EFE)

MEPs Inés Ayala (l), Chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries, and Fabio Massimo Castaldo (r), during a press conference in Tunis about their mission to Libya, on May 22, 2018 (Photo: Javier Martín/EFE)

Tunis, May 23 (efe-epa).-  A group of Euro-parliamentarians has arrived in Libya, six years after the last European Parliament's fact-finding mission. Their task is to revive a national reconciliation process which has steadily slid into chaos and remains trapped by a mafia network running its economy.  

Led by Spanish MEP Inés Ayala, Chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries, the delegates were met by the Vice-president of the Lybian government in Tripoli, Ahmed Maitiq, and the Foreign Affairs minister, Mohamad Taha Siala.

The European delegation visited the Tariq al Siqqa migrant detention center, one of the remaining facilities open to Non-Government (NGO) and international organizations still working in Lybia, regardless of the security issues in a nation rife with heavily armed militias.

On the following day, the MEP's traveled to Tunis to meet a delegation from Tobruk's parliament, the "other" Lybian government, under the rule of Marshall Jalifa Hafter.

"We are conscious of the difficulties in a country with two governments ruling in different parts of the country while other regions lack any government at all. That is why this mission has a clear political significance" the Italian MEP and EP vice-president, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, told EFE. 

"That is why we have asked our Libyan counterparts to retake the negotiations with a renewed sense of responsibility. The reunification of both governments is an absolute priority to ensure we have a reliable partner we can engage with in security matters, migration and especially, economic development talks" he added.    

One leading faction is Tripoli's Government of National Accord (GNA), propped by the UN, which emerged after the failed 2014 reconciliation process.

Its rival faction is Tobruk's parliament which controls the Eastern regions and Libya's main oil fields under the watchful eye of controversial Marshall Hafter.  

A lot has changed since the North African nation emerged from a bloody civil war against Lybian leader Muammar al Ghadaffi, deposed by the rebels thanks to NATO's military support.  

Lybia is now a failed state, a victim of chaos and civil war strife with factions that lack any democratic legitimacy are fighting to control the vast Libyan resources, mainly oil, supported by armed militias constantly changing allegiances.

MEP Castaldo believes economic development is the only solution to "end the illegal human traffic in Libya's South. The EU is willing to increase its financial assistance in the field but it needs a reliable, united, partner." 

Some 750.000 migrants and refugees currently in Libya are believed to be waiting to attempt the treacherous sea-crossing to Europe. 

By Javier Martín

Translated by N4E



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