Statement by Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, during his joint press briefing with his Libyan, German and Italian counterparts (Tripoli, 25 March 2021)
« Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
I must say that I am very pleased to be here in Tripoli, a few weeks after a legitimate executive was confirmed by the House of Representatives. That was a very important step forward which should help restore Libya’s stability, unity and sovereignty.
I am particularly pleased to be here with Heiko Maas and Luigi di Maio, my German and Italian counterparts.
Our presence illustrates the European Union’s unity in this respect. This unity is crucial, as Libya is in our immediate neighbourhood and we cannot look away from the consequences the Libyan crisis might have in Europe, in terms of security, terrorism and migration. Similarly, Libya’s stability is a key factor for security in the Sahel, North Africa and the Mediterranean.
We are therefore pleased to see our efforts bear fruit. There have been meetings in Paris and Palermo, and a conference in Berlin which has helped launch a process, and today we are seeing the first results. And during our contacts with the Libyan authorities, we passed on a simple message: the European Union stands alongside the new executive. We will help it continue the democratic transition the Libyan people expect, which we believe means two things: firstly, the elections planned for 24 December should go ahead on time, as the Libyans wish, and secondly, that work to achieve that needs to start now. All three of us are prepared to support the organization of the elections.
Moreover, the ceasefire agreement concluded on 23 October needs to be fully implemented, meaning immediate confidence-building measures are needed, such as disengagement and the reopening of the coastal road, and that ultimately, the priority has to be the departure of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya. That is essential for the country to restore its sovereignty and unity. Those are the two conditions for Libya to at last turn the page of these long years of crisis which have divided the country and inflicted such suffering upon its people.
For the first time in a long time, there is a window of opportunity. We three have come to support the Libyan authorities, to ensure they can succeed. Thank you very much. »