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Exclusive: Libya’s Sarraj Says Some Parties Oppose Elections in Fear of Losing Political Might

Exclusive: Libya’s Sarraj Says Some Parties Oppose Elections in Fear of Losing Political Might

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 - 14:15
Fayez al-Sarraj addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 2, 2017. (Reuters)

Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj said that several parties, which he left unnamed, are fervently working against holding elections.

“They do not support holding elections in Libya, fearing that they will be ousted from the political scene,” Sarraj told Asharq Al-Awsat during his visit to Cairo.

“My visit to Egypt comes within the framework of consultations with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.”

The prime minister urged international forces to weigh in on holding presidential and parliamentary elections that involve all parties.

He also supported what he called a “very strong vision in terms of interest and support for Libya's stability and the importance of the political agreement.”

“We, therefore, requested the support of the European Union to enable us to obtain electronic systems to monitor the southern border, especially in light of the growing illegal immigration, which allowed in ISIS terrorists, extremist and criminal groups and fugitives,” he added.

“We are talking about 500,000 illegal immigrants outside shelters, as well as 20,000 immigrants inside designated shelters.”

Sarraj said that terror groups use the surge in numbers of trafficked immigrants to their own ends, whether to provide terrorists with an opportunity to infiltrate communities or secure human shields.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sarraj welcomed all efforts played out by Egypt in uniting Libya’s military institution. He also warned against terrorists, namely those affiliated with ISIS, exploiting loose security points at borders to traffic radicals into Libya.

“Security and border control is a very important aspect for us, and this subject is constantly discussed, not only with Egypt, but with the international community.”

Commenting on the Al-Bayda-based interim government headed by Abdullah al-Thani, Sarraj said that it is almost non-existence in terms of establishing order.

For his part, Sarraj admitted to the presence of some security violations in Tripoli. But argued that unlike al-Bayda and other parts of Libya, ‘perpetrators are being held accountable for their crimes’.

As for tackling challenges, Sarraj said that he and Sisi reached an agreement that problems facing the Libyans in Egypt, as well as the resumption of Egyptian flights to Libya, should be resolved.

More so, Sarraj said that a meeting of the Joint High Committee at the presidential level should be arranged early next year.

“The technical committees started working and preparing for this meeting,” he added.

When asked him to elaborate on rumors of European efforts that poured into resettling Africans in Libya, Sarraj said the case was the complete opposite.

“On the contrary-- We have spoken a great deal in regional and international forums, and we have asked all parties, especially the European Union, to work with African countries on the return of illegal immigrants in Libya to their respective countries.”

“We also spoke with the international community about the importance of supporting Libya in providing the necessary shelter centers and supporting Coast Guard to protect against this phenomenon.”

Sarraj said that European cooperation in this file has been slow in pace.

“There is a response, but it is slow and needs more support, in addition to the need for African countries to respond to the repatriation of their nationals from Libya. This is where we are working.”

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