Libyan FM Accuses Arab League of Sabotaging Meeting in Tripoli

Libya's Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush
Libya's Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush

On Sunday, Libya’s Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush accused the General Secretariat of the Arab League of trying to disrupt the consultative meeting of the Arab Foreign Ministers, which was held in Tripoli.

The meeting was held in the presence of Tunisian and Algerian Foreign Ministers Othman Jerandi, and Ramtane Lamamra. In addition to delegations from Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Sudan, Palestine, and Comoros.

The Arab League’s Secretariat apologized for not sending its delegation to attend the consultative meeting in Tripoli. It claimed that it had received assurances that the total number of participating countries was only seven, which made it difficult to send a delegation from the General Secretariat to cover the meeting, due to lack of a quorum (14 countries), i.e. half of the League’s members.

Al-Mangoush said in a press conference held after the meeting, “We held this meeting successfully despite the challenges. There is no doubt that the regional and Arab circumstances also cast a shadow over the smooth conduct of the meeting, but today we are in Tripoli, and we held the consultative meeting successfully.”

The FM added that previous emergency consultative ministerial meetings were attended by only two or three ministers, expressing her surprise that the League “created a nonexistent condition in the Charter and regulations, by claiming that 14 countries must send written confirmation of their attendance.”

She also expressed her refusal to “politicize work in the Arab League,” noting that there are “some attempts to obstruct international efforts aimed at achieving stability and holding elections.’

The Minister stated that “the meeting was not particularly about Libya, but an affirmation of a previous agreement to intensify consultations among members. In order to unify the Arab position on all issues of common concern.”

“The participants of the meeting expressed their support for stability in Libya, the unity of the Arab position, as well as the efforts of the UN Support Mission in Libya to achieve stability and support the Libyan elections,” Al-Mangoush added.

Five of the 22 member states of the Arab League sent their Foreign Ministers to the periodic, consultative meeting. These included neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia, local media reported. Others sent their only envoys to Tripoli.

Regional heavyweights Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were not represented at the meeting. This questioned the legitimacy of Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba’s government, after Libya’s eastern-based Parliament appointed a rival PM last year.

In September, Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry withdrew from an Arab League session chaired by Al-Mangoush, protesting her representation of Libya at the summit.

Ahead of Sunday’s meeting, authorities in the Libyan capital granted a day off for civil servants and closed off major roads around Mitiga airport, and a luxury hotel where the session took place.

Libya’s current political stalemate grew out of the failure to hold elections in December 2021 and Dbaiba’s refusal to step down. In response, the Libyan Parliament appointed a rival Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha, who has for months sought to install his government in Tripoli.