Algeria and Tunisia have spoken out against foreign interference in Libya and called for a halt to the flow of foreign fighters and arms to the war-torn North African state.
Tebboune: Libyans Deserve A Healthy Democracy
Following a meeting with Tunisian President Kais Saied in the Algerian capital of Algiers on February 2, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune underscored the importance of giving Libyans the chance to build their own state institutions and build on their aspirations for democracy.
“We want the Libyans to be able to build their own state institutions,” Tebboune said at a press briefing with Saied. “This will help them hold general elections.”
The meeting of the leaders of the two neighboring countries is the first since Saied became the President of Tunisia in October 2019. Tebboune came to the helm of the Algerian head of state in December of the same year.
Impact Of The War In Libya On Tunisia And Algeria
Algeria and Tunisia have both been negatively affected by the ongoing violence in Libya, especially in the western part of the restive state where an amalgam of militias is operating.
Algeria and Tunisia have had to beef up security along their joint borders with Libya, allocating huge financial resources for this process. Nevertheless, terrorists have succeeded in sneaking into the two states and perpetrating attacks.
The Libyan Proxy War
The two countries’ call for a cessation of foreign interference in Libya comes against the background of increasing international involvement in the Libyan conflict. A wide range of foreign powers are stepping into it, offering financial and military backing to one rival group or another.
Turkey has already taken its involvement many steps further by sending Syrian mercenaries to back the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). Ankara signed security and maritime boundary demarcation pacts with the GNA in November last year. According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the pacts give his country the right to send troops to Libya.
However, instead of regular troops, Turkey is opting for Syrian hirelings who are arriving in Tripoli on promises of financial payments from Ankara and the GNA.
European Security Threatened By Syrian Fighters In Libya
Apart from reinventing the Syrian model in Libya, the dispatch of paid militia fighters from Syria to Libya also threatens Europe’s security because dozens of those who arrived in Libya from Syria have reportedly boarded boats to European shores.
Last month the Libyan National Army—which has been trying to liberate Tripoli and some other western Libyan cities from the control of the GNA—revealed the escape of dozens of Syrian fighters to Europe after their arrival to Libya.
Turkey is also sending arms and military equipment to Libya in total contravention of the recommendations of the January 19 Berlin summit on Libya. Turkey’s moves also contradict the pledges Erdogan made in the summit, according to French President Emmanuel Macron.
Algeria’s Role In Trying For Peace In Libya
Mindful of the risks entailed in turning Libya into another Syria, Algeria hosted a meeting of the foreign ministers of Libya’s neighboring countries on January 23. The meeting was intended to discuss how to settle the crisis in the North African state.
The foreign ministers of Libya’s neighboring states called on the international community to help Libyan rival forces to maintain a truce sponsored by Russia and Turkey. The foreign ministers also called for ending foreign interference in Libya, as a step on the road to finding a negotiated solution to the war.
The Beginning Of A Shared Effort For Peace
On February 2, Tebboune expressed hope that his meeting with the Tunisian President would be the beginning of an effort by their two countries to bring the Libyans together and find solutions to Libya’s problems.
He said Algeria wanted all Libyans, including all of Libya’s tribes, to be involved in any peace-making process in the coming period.
“We want Libya to start a new chapter on the road to becoming the democracy its people craves,” Tebboune said.