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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

US Mediates between Libya's Dbeibah, Bashagha

Libyan prime minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah chairing a cabinet meeting. (Libyan government)

US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland kicked off public and official mediation efforts between Premier Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and Prime Minister-designate Fathi Bashagha.

However, Norland did not indicate which government was recognized by the US administration.

Norland spoke over the phone with both Dbeibah and Bashagha urging them to consider ways to manage Libya's affairs while efforts are underway, with UN facilitation, to restore momentum towards parliamentary and presidential elections rapidly.

"In the context of ongoing political tensions in Libya, I have been in touch with PM Dbeibah and PM-designate Fathi Bashagha and am confident both leaders want to avoid escalating violence," he disclosed via the US Embassy Twitter account.

He lauded their "mutual commitment" to holding elections as soon as possible and confirmed that such decisions "only Libyans can make," reaffirming Washington's support in reaching peaceful solutions.

Later, Norland discussed with Speaker Aguila Saleh how to deescalate tensions, avoid violence, and restore momentum to parliamentary and presidential elections as soon as possible.

The ambassador welcomed the Speaker's commitment to engage with UN efforts to produce rapid agreement on a constitutional basis and his emphasis on High National Election Commission's (HNEC) decisive role.

They agreed that Libya could not return to the turmoil of the past.

Earlier, Saleh discussed with the UK Charge d'Affaires, Kate English, the measures taken between the House of Representatives (HoR) and the state in the twelfth constitutional amendment and the selection of a new prime minister.

The British official intends to hold a meeting with Saleh and visit Benghazi and the eastern region soon.

The British Embassy said English had a "constructive discussion" with Saleh, and they agreed on the importance of engaging with the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser initiative to define a constitutional basis for elections.

They also agreed on the importance of stability and the need for compromise and dialogue at this critical time in Libya's transition.

In turn, UN Special Adviser Stephanie Williams criticized the media campaigns targeting efforts to end division in Libya.

Williams defended her initiative that aims at "bringing Libyans together to agree on a consensual constitutional basis to enable the holding of these elections as soon as possible."

She reiterated her support to the millions of Libyans who want to change this unacceptable reality and renew the legitimacy of institutions through elections.

"Libyans need to agree on a consensual way forward that prioritizes preserving the country's unity and stability."

Williams' statements seemed to respond to criticism directed at her initiative inviting leadership of both the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to nominate six delegates from each chamber to form a joint committee dedicated to developing a consensual constitutional basis.

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