Libya’s interim authorities reopened on Sunday the Mediterranean coastal highway linking the country’s eastern and western cities.
“I am so delighted to participate in the opening of this essential lifeline linking the east of our country to its west,” Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah told a crowd that gathered as bulldozers were towing away rocks and sand dunes blocking the road.
The coastal highway has been closed since April 2019. Its reopening was a long-held demand by the UN to enable the safe passage of civilians and goods.
Sunday’s announcement comes three days ahead of an international conference on Libya that will be hosted by Germany and the United Nations in Berlin.
The US embassy in Libya hailed the reopening of the highway, saying in a tweet it was “paving the path for Libyans to have full control over their own affairs.”
Dbeibah was elected as interim prime minister, along with a four-member presidential council, by Libyan delegates at a UN-sponsored conference in February. They are meant to shepherd the country to nationwide elections late this year.
In March, the transitional government announced the resumption of flights between eastern Benghazi and western Misrata after seven years of suspension. Both cities have been key strongholds of Libya’s warring factions.