Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy

The National Transitional Council

The year of 2011 was monumental in the restructuring of Libya’s government relations, both domestic and international. The establishment of the National Transitional Council (NTC) largely reset Libyan foreign relations and the state’s implementation of foreign policy. The NTC put forth its “Founding Statement” on 5 March 2011, proclaiming that the new government “request[s] from the international community to fulfill its obligations to protect the Libyan people from any further genocide and crimes against humanity without any direct military intervention on Libyan soil.”

With Libyan autonomy setting the stage for the state’s foreign policy in 2011, the NTC requested assistance from the international community in order to help the nation restart its foreign relations. Foreign aid was requested in the form of medical supplies, money, and military armaments, rather than placing foreign boots on the ground.

With oil being the primary source of Libyan national wealth, relations with foreign oil companies and countries with nationalized oil sectors have been of great importance since the revolution in 2011. Companies like Eni (Italy), Total (France), BP (UK), and many major American oil companies continue to be invested in promoting Libya’s stability and economic success. Additionally, this includes relations with other, non-energy related, public and private organizations (See our website’s “Economy” section for more information).

As for relations within the Middle East and North Africa region, on 27 August 2011 Libya was reinstated into the Arab League under the leadership of the NTC. A month later, the African Union officially recognized the NTC, allowing Libya to rejoin the organization. In addition to this, the NTC was asked to represent Libya in the UN, with then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stating that the UN would work with the Libyan authority to help the country transition towards democracy.

Under the NTC, representative missions were sent abroad during the revolution, with numerous countries recognizing the NTC as the governing authority in Libya. Many of these countries invited the NTC to take over their respective Libyan embassies and diplomatic offices.

The Government of National Accord

The Government of National Accord (GNA) was seen by the UN as replacing the NTC (and later the GNC). The GNA was formed on 17 December 2015 under the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement - a UN-led initiative - and was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council.

As for foreign policy, Libya’s foreign relations have grown under the GNA, with diplomatic missions and embassies located around the world. In terms of the conflict, the GNA has ardently opposed foreign influence in Libya’s political processes, however, major regional and international players have posted stakes in Libya’s future as the conflict in the country continues.

The Government of Libyan National Unity

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum

Acting as the catalyst and incubator for selecting Libya’s new government, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) was set in place under the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and headed by Stephanie Williams, then-Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Libya (ASRSG). Within this framework, UNSMIL facilitated the first round of the LPDF from 7 to 15 November 2020 in Tunis, Tunisia, bringing together 75 participants - including Libyan women and men - representing the full social and political spectrum of Libyan society.

In this November forum, participants of the LPDF agreed on a roadmap to credible, inclusive, and democratic national elections for Libya, which are scheduled to be held on 24 December 2021, Libya’s 70th Independence Day. These elections will finally give Libyans the opportunity to choose a new way forward for their country.

In Geneva, Switzerland in early February 2021, the LPDF conducted several rounds of votes on candidates for the presidency council for an interim government, titled the Government of Libyan National Unity, in order to unify the country in preparation for the upcoming elections. The voting was live-streamed across Libya, ultimately resulting in Mr. Abdulhamid AlDabaiba winning the position of prime minister, with Mr. Mohammad Younes Menfi becoming president of the Presidency Council, and Mr. Mossa Al-Koni and Mr. Abdullah Hussein Al-Lafi designated as members of the Presidency Council.

In the words of then-ASRSG Williams to the members of the LPDF: “The importance of the decision that you have taken here today will grow with the passage of time in the collective memory of the Libyan people…..You overcame differences, divisions, and the many challenges you have faced during this difficult, but fruitful journey, in the interests of your country and of the Libyan people.” View Williams’ full remarks here.

Confirmation of the GNU

On 15 March 2021, the Libyan House of Representatives confirmed the newly appointed Government of Libyan National Unity (GNU). On this historic day, 132 lawmakers approved the government of Prime Minister Abdulhamid AlDabaiba, with five women selected to serve in leadership positions in the new government, serving as the heads of their respective ministries.

With confidence from the Libyan House of Representatives placed in the new government, hope is high in Libya for the impending conclusion of the conflict. The formation of the GNU will pave the way to peace and stability in the nation, setting the stage for the upcoming national elections. As for the country’s domestic priorities, combatting the effects of COVID-19 and providing much-needed services are on the top of the GNU’s list in order to improve the lives of the Libyan people.

Becoming the nation’s first female minister of foreign affairs, Her Excellency Najla El Mangoush will lead the charge in helping to implement Libyan foreign policy and diplomacy under the GNU. Foreign policy priorities under the GNU include the ousting of foreign mercenaries from Libyan soil, thus ending the negative interference that had exploited and fueled the previous conflict between Libyans, expanding on economic partnerships with allied nations, and strengthening international diplomacy and engagement.

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