We come here united,” said EU Ambassador Sabadell in his remarks during the ceremony at the presidential palace. “The European Union wants Libya to succeed […]. There can only be a political solution to the conflict. It is imperative that all Libyan leaders engage in good faith in the UN-facilitated Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, where women need to participate and be represented at all levels.”
For its part, the delegation showed that there is progress in European diplomacy when it comes to gender equity and women in senior positions: four out of the nine diplomats participating in the joint visit were women.
After months of delays caused by both the difficult security situation in Tripoli and the increasing coronavirus crisis, all not yet accredited EU ambassadors had been invited by President Sarraj to hand over their credentials on 10 October 2020. The diplomats used this opportunity – with a strong Team Europe spirit – to hold a series of joint meetings with the leadership in Tripoli, reiterating the EU’s commitment to the Berlin process and stressing the importance of a resumption of political dialogue to reach a lasting ceasefire agreement. In a joint press communiqué, the EU representatives reconfirmed the EU’s readiness to support reform efforts by Libyan authorities in the security sector, including through support to a ceasefire monitoring mechanism, and welcomed recent efforts to resume oil production.
The EU ambassadors pointed to the positive role of the EU Operation Irini in implementing UN resolutions, and reiterated the EU’s position that the 2019 Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions infringes upon the sovereign rights of third States, violates the Law of the Sea.
The joint messages of EU representatives were widely covered in local press and across social media, putting a spotlight on the positive response to a united engagement of the European Union with Libya.
Over the following three days, EU Ambassador Sabadell continued to meet inter alia Minister of the Interior Fathi Bashagha, Mayor of Tripoli Abderrauf Beitelmal, representatives of the National Elections Commission and the local elections committee, Libyan entrepreneurs, members of the National Centre for Disease Control, the national electricity company, civil society and women’s rights defenders. He also met with the heads of UN agencies, many of whom are important partners for the EU in implementing projects in the field of migration, security sector reform, local governance, support to the COVID-19 response and human rights protection.
European Union funded programmes in Libya currently amount to over €480 million Euros. In his meetings with political leaders, civil society and the business community, Ambassador Sabadell underlined the EU’s readiness to step up cooperation with Libya for the benefit of its civilian population that has long suffered from violent conflict, an increasing electricity crisis and a general lack of access to basic public services. “We are prepared to continue and reinforce our support”, said Ambassador Sabadell, “in particular in those areas that immediately benefit the Libyan people, including access to electricity, water and health.”
The EU Delegation to Libya remains temporarily relocated to Tunis due to the ongoing conflict in Libya. The COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions have further complicated access to the country. Ambassador Sabadell travelled to Libya from 10 to 13 October 2020 for this first set of meetings.
Alongside the EU Ambassador, Austrian Ambassador Christoph Meyenburg, Belgian Ambassador Christophe de Bassompierre, Danish Ambassador Julie Pruzan-Jørgensen, Finish Ambassador Pekka Hukka, Spanish Ambassador Javier Gª-Larrache, Swedish Ambassador Anna Block-Mazoyer and Norwegian Ambassador Lene Natasha Lind handed over their credentials in Tripoli on 10 October 2020.