By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
An African Union-led Contact Group meeting on Libya is taking place in the Republic of Congo today (March 12). It is under the auspices of the Congolese president Denis Sassou Nguesso who is chair of the AU’s High-Level committee on Libya.
Unlike the last meeting that took place in the capital Brazzaville, today’s meeting is taking place in Oyo, a town located in the country’s north.
Last month in Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the 33rd AU Summit, leaders agreed to establish the Contact Group to, in the words of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, “provide political leadership and to promote the coordination of international efforts in pursuit of a lasting solution to the Libyan crisis.
Ramaphosa bemoaned the continued military offensive in the North African country since the last AU summit. “The ongoing strife in Libya has dangerous repercussions for the security and stability of the region and the continent in general.
“Furthermore, continued political and military interference by external actors in the affairs of Libya undermine the fundamental interests and rights of the Libyan people and their aspirations for freedom, peace, democracy and development,” he added.
Also in attendance are the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Kaki Mahamat, Chad’s Idris Deby Itno is also in Oyo as are other representatives from Algeria, Egypt and the United Nations.
The year 2020 has been a busy year for the AU in seeking a political intervention in the conflict in Libya. The AU chief and Sassou Nguesso were present at the Berlin Conference on Libya, both leaders were at the summit in Brazzaville which agreed to kick start an African-led Libya-focused search for peace.
“Our meetings from this day in Oyo , must decline, in a very operational way, the preparation of the inter-Libyan reconciliation conference, under the seal of inclusiveness, representativeness and with respect for the integrity and unity of Libya,” the AU Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said.
“Today is the inaugural meeting of this Contact Group and at the same time, an excellent opportunity for Africa to express its leadership on the issue,” he stressed.