International Community Involvement in Libya, Op-Ed by Moin Kikhia

By Moin Kikhia, Libyan Democratic Institute’s Chairman.

The EU has rightly recognized that without a serious and genuine reconciliation process, Libya will never become a peaceful, secure and functional democracy. But while today’s vote is a good first step, I cannot see any progress in Libya without free, fair, and inclusive elections.

And for this to happen, we need the democratic world to re-engage with Libyan affairs – something it has failed to do sufficiently over the last several years. I know that Europe is distracted by many competing crises at this moment in history, and has little capacity to deal with more. But the fact is, its adversaries are still as engaged in Libya as ever.

These hostile, undemocratic actors are a key driver of the ongoing conflict and instability in the country. The West may be able to ignore Libya for now, but its geopolitical adversaries are incredibly focused on the country and its resources, particularly fossil fuels.

The longer the international community neglects Libya, the more entrenched these hostile interests will become. Eventually, these problems will become so great that they will inevitably spill over and drag the EU into another crisis on its southern periphery. Because the fact is that, although Libya is in North Africa, it and Europe are connected by their proximity to the Mediterranean and many millennia of shared history.

The EU can no sooner cut itself off from Libya’s problems than sail away to the South Pacific. The Libyan people cannot force hostile foreign powers out of their country on their own.

We need the international community to put pressure on those who profit from continued instability in the country, so that Libya’s suffering can finally come to an end. It is very much in all of our collective interests to make this happen.

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