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03.06.2021 Libya

Spain throws support behind Libya's political process

By AFP
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (L) is welcomed by his Libyan counterpart Abdulhamid Dbeibah in Tripoli on June 3, 2021.  By Mahmud Turkia (AFP)
LISTEN JUN 3, 2021
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (L) is welcomed by his Libyan counterpart Abdulhamid Dbeibah in Tripoli on June 3, 2021. By Mahmud Turkia (AFP)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Thursday on a visit to Tripoli that Madrid wanted to support Libya's political process, in the latest trip to the country by a high-level European official.

Libya is seeking to extricate itself from a decade of chaos and conflict that followed the toppling of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in the 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

A flurry of diplomatic activity has broken out since a new transitional unity government was installed earlier this year, following an October ceasefire between rival camps in the country's east and west.

Libya's interim executive is charged with organising legislative and presidential elections set for December.

"This is a historic moment for Libya, a great opportunity, and Spain wants to be at its side," Sanchez said during a news conference with interim Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah.

Sanchez said Spain wanted to support Libya's election process, and announced it would "contribute to the Libyan ceasefire monitoring mechanism to guarantee security and the upholding of peace".

The two sides also announced the reopening of Spain's embassy in Tripoli which has been shut since 2014. It follows moves from several countries including France and Greece in recent months.

Sanchez, who was accompanied by a business delegation, als met several Libyan officials to discuss Spain's "role in Libya's reconstruction and development".

Dbeibah, a wealthy businessman, said he wanted to "encourage Spanish businesses operating in Libya, such as Repsol, to expand their activities beyond the hydrocarbons sector".

Energy giant Repsol constitutes Spain's main economic presence in oil-rich Libya.

On Tuesday, company officials held a videoconference with Mustafa Sanalla, head of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC), and discussed ways of "introducing renewable energy in the Libyan oil sector", an NOC statement said.

Dbeibah announced the "reactivation of a joint committee that has not met since 2008 to restart and update old (bilateral) agreements".

"Today, we have signed memorandums of understanding in several fields including education, training and trade," he said.

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