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German Foreign Office Minister of State, Katja Keul Emphasizes Continued Support For Libya

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By Gabriel Ani

Berlin, 26 May 2024 – German minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Katja Keul on Saturday stressed the importance of continued international support for Libya amidst its ongoing political challenges.

In a statement released by the German Federal office this weekend, Keul highlighted the geographical and strategic significance of Libya to the European Union.

She noted the fragile stability since the 2020 ceasefire, stating, “The civil war is over. The 2020 ceasefire agreement reached as a result of the first Berlin Conference on Libya is holding. Nevertheless, Libya’s political crisis continues and the country remains divided between east and west.”

“Libya is an immediate neighbour of the EU – we are separated by about only 300 kilometres. What happens there also has a direct impact on us,” Keul remarked.

Keul pointed out the critical issue of delayed elections, emphasizing that, “People are still waiting to be allowed to exercise their right to political participation, after the elections scheduled for December 2021 did not take place. For the absence of elections also means the absence of legitimate, pan-Libyan institutions, and thus a weakening of state authority.”

She expressed concern over the presence of foreign fighters and Russia’s increasing influence in the region. “Foreign fighters and forces have still not been withdrawn from Libya. Russia is massively expanding its presence and is using Libya as a hub for its Africa policy,” Keul stated.

The Minister of State outlined her objectives for the visit, focusing on supporting the UN-led political process. “I am travelling to Libya to find out more about the current state of the political process. It is crucial that the international community continues to stand united behind the United Nations and its efforts to lead Libyan actors towards an agreement on elections,” she said, urging Libyan leaders to stay committed to the UN’s efforts.

Keul also addressed human rights issues, a significant concern for her visit. “I am especially concerned by reports of the bad human rights situation in the country for Libyans as well as for refugees and migrants, and also for civil society, which is confronted with shrinking spaces. In my talks, I want to discuss how we can help improve the situation,” she asserted.

Minister Keul’s visit, from 25 to 28 May 2024, will include meetings with representatives of the Transitional Government, Parliament, civil society, and the UN mission UNSMIL. The discussions will primarily focus on democracy, rule of law, and human rights. Germany continues to support Libya’s preparation for local elections scheduled in 2024, aiding the Election Commission and promoting inclusive political participation, especially among women and marginalized groups.

Germany’s commitment to Libya’s peace process is underscored by its hosting of the Berlin Conferences in 2020 and 2021, which played a pivotal role in ending the civil war. Recently, the German Bundestag extended the mandate for the IRINI mission, which monitors the arms embargo against Libya to help secure the peace process.

 

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