The international conference for the stabilization of Libya, held in Tripoli on Thursday, had at least symbolic value.

Several high-ranking Arab and Western representatives traveled from abroad, including the Egyptian, Algerian, Tunisian, French and Italian foreign ministers.

“The conference sends a sign of confidence to the Libyan people.

It is gratifying that a conference on Libya could now take place in Libya, ”said Niels Annen, Minister of State in the Foreign Office, who had traveled to Tripoli for the German government, the FAZ

Christoph Ehrhardt

Correspondent for the Arab countries based in Beirut.

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This shows that something had been achieved with the Berlin process. But Annen also made it clear that “a lot of work” remains until Libya is on the way to permanent stability. “The message from the international community was clear: the roadmap must be adhered to - both in terms of the elections and the withdrawal of foreign fighters. The pressure has been increased again, and it must not let up, ”said Annen. 

Skepticism is appropriate because not much has been achieved on the matter in the past few months. Abdul Hamid Dbaiba, the head of the Libyan interim government, which according to the timetable should start elections on December 24th, announced before the conference that they would be held on time. In fact, that's completely open. There is still a political dispute over their legal basis. The parliament of the former counter-government in eastern Libya has already announced that it will postpone the parliamentary elections until next year. The presidential election is still pending. And it is controversial which powers this president should be given at all.  

Even if there is a vote, there is still a risk of conflicts breaking out, as happened after the 2014 parliamentary elections. At that time, the result was challenged by force of arms, and a militia alliance dominated by Islamist forces took control of the capital. Since then, Libya has been divided between West and East. The conflict escalated in the spring of 2019 when the East Libyan military leader Khalifa Haftar, who wants to run for the presidential election, began a campaign to conquer Tripoli, which turned into an international conflict.

One of the consequences is the presence of foreign forces in Libya. So far, the transitional leadership in Tripoli complains, only a very small proportion have left the country. The Turkish military intervened in the conflict on the part of the Haftar opponents. Ankara has hired Syrian militiamen to work in Libya. African mercenaries who, according to UN observers, were hired by the United Arab Emirates, as well as Russian mercenaries from the Wagner company, are fighting on the Haftar's side.

On November 12th, topics like these should be discussed again in a prominent place.

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting a conference on Libya.

But Paris is feeling the mistrust that still prevails between the Libyan actors, because France had supported Haftar for a long time.

Politicians from the camp of the Haftar opponents made it clear in the orbit of the Tripoli conference that they do not trust their French hosts.

Keywords: elections, conference, libya, tripoli, niels annen, khalifa haftar, place, country, states, representatives, stabilization, election, government, mercenaries, arab