Libya

Promediation’s action in Libya

Since the revolution that ended the regime of Muammar Khadafi, Libya has been afflicted by a generalised situation of uncertainty and crisis, compounded by local security and political issues also affecting peripheral communities. Today, despite the formation of a government of national unity, the Government of National Accord (GNA), central government is struggling to generate support from all political and military actors and restore authority on the national scale.

Tebu, Tuareg and Amazigh communities constitute significant security actors due to their strategic position at the borders with Tunisia, Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan, their capacity to control areas and cities that hold important resources, in particular water, oil and gas resources, but also oil fields and pipelines in the Fezzan and the North-western coastline. It is therefore important to take into account the political, military and economic capacities of these communities, as well as their specific needs and challenges when analysing the current situation in Libya and existing opportunities to support the peace process and the rebuilding of the state.
Together, the leaderships of these communities, and neighbouring communities, could be a crucial resource in support of the GNA’s efforts to rebuild the state, restart Libyan economy based on natural resources, and manage conflicts at the local level. They could also contribute to efforts led by international actors to support the political transition and peace process, fight trafficking and terrorism, and prevent the spill over of instability to the Sahel-Sahara and North Africa regions.

As the UN-led process concentrates its efforts on supporting political dialogue at the national level, Promediation’s action works in coordination and complementarity to international efforts by supporting stabilisation at the local level.

Promediation started working in Libya in late 2014 at the request of the parties in conflict in Awbari, Fezzan. Promediation’s action consisted of supporting them in finding a peaceful and sustainable solution to the conflict that has opposed Tuaregs and Tebus in the town since September 2014. In close contact with UNSMIL and all other relevant international actors, including Sahel neighbouring countries, Promediation directly facilitated dialogue in order to support the creation of a sustainable negotiation process in the Awbari conflict.

Promediation’s work of shuttle diplomacy and facilitation of dialogue resulted in two rounds of negotiation between representatives and recognized delegations of Tebus and Tuaregs in Tunis and in Brussels in July and August 2015. Direct negotiations took place and led to the identifying of common interests, and possible steps to reach a cease-fire and rebuild trust among them. This resulted in a preliminary joint statement signed by the parties on July 27th 2015.

After the implementation of December 2015’s cease-fire by the parties, and despite the removal of checkpoints, an exchange of prisoners at the end of February 2016, and other reconciliation efforts, peace in Awbari is still fragile. To encourage trust building and reconciliation efforts in Awbari, Promediation maintained its support to the parties in cooperation-oriented initiatives, including joint contacts with external partners in order to address humanitarian needs (e.g. side-meetings for the two delegations with the ICRC and other humanitarian institutions or NGO representatives), rebuild Awbari and accelerate the return of IDPs within a cooperative framework between the two parties. Promediation also supported outreach activities of local parties towards the international community (UNSMIL, EU institutions, representatives of military operations in the Sahel, etc.) and other field stakeholders from the Fezzan in order to reduce mistrust and promote mutual understanding of objectives and interests.

Promediation is pursuing its efforts to strengthen relations between these two peripheral but strategic communities for the stability of southern Libya and the Saharo-Sahelian strip. In parallel, Promediation’s support was requested by the Amazigh, another peripheral cross-border community in Libya. On the basis of past attempts of cooperation between the Amazigh, Tebu and Tuareg communities on local mediation efforts and constitutional process, Promediation has developed a project to support these actors in their cooperation and peace-building efforts in Libya. Promediation’s action aims to contribute to peace efforts in Libya by promoting a better inclusion of Amazigh, Tuareg and Tebu communities in the peace and stabilisation process. Promediation supports the leaderships of these three communities in order to foster cooperation between them and reduce tensions and risks of conflict at the local level, in particular with neighbouring communities of the Fezzan and Djebel Nefusa. Besides mitigating tensions at the local level, this project also intends to encourage local actors to engage with and build support of national authorities in order to address political fragmentation. Finally, it aims to foster better understanding of priorities and interests between local strategic actors in Libya and Sahel border areas and international stakeholders and supporters of the peace and stabilisation process. To this aim, Promediation has facilitated contact between these local Libyan leaders and international stakeholders in order to build a space for informal dialogue and analysis sharing with an aim to generate more consideration of local Libyan actors’ capacities and a better coordination of efforts to support the peace and stabilisation process in Libya.

“A European strategy for the stabilisation of Libya: Supporting the inclusion of local actors”.

European Parliament, Brussels. 15th of November 2016.
A conference organised by Promediation and the European Institute of Peace.

This round-table aimed to initiate a dialogue between the international community, particularly European institutions, and local Libyan actors and to reflect on the European Union¹s strategy to support the peace and stabilisation process in Libya. The Libyan delegations representing the Amazigh, Tebu and Tuareg leaderships were invited to share their perspectives on the situation at the local level with a range of actors,including EU decision-makers, diplomats, UNSMIL representatives, and academic experts, and engage in a constructive dialogue with the participants on the possible steps forward to promote a more inclusive process towards sustainable peace and stabilisation in Libya.