French Embassy to Libya reopens in Tripoli after seven years closure

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On Monday 29 March 2021, the French embassy in Libya reopened in the capital Tripoli. In a comment to the state news agency, Ambassador Béatrice le Fraper du Hellen said: “I arrived in Tripoli to reopen the French embassy in Libya, and I am determined to work with all my strength to strengthen relations with the Libyan authorities and the Libyan people who host me.”

The reopening of the diplomatic seat, after seven years of absence, was announced on March 23 by President Emmanuel Macron during his meeting in Paris with the head of the Libyan Council of Presidency Mohamed Menfi and his deputy Musa Koni.The mission was the first trip abroad of Libyan representatives since they took office, following their election on February 5.

According to reports from Jeune Afrique, as early as February 7, Macron and al-Menfi, also a French speaker, had a telephone conversation. On the occasion of his visit to Paris, Macron said that France and its European allies would support Libya’s political efforts and called on the Turkish and Russian armed forces to leave the country as soon as possible.

During a joint press conference, the head of the Elysée affirmed the need to support security and peace in Libya to bring stability to the entire region, adding that the goal of Paris is to maintain a ceasefire in Libya. “It is our responsibility to work to prevent countries that have an agenda to destabilize Libya.” He had warned President Macron, indicating that his country intends to help the Libyans re-establish control over their borders in collaboration with neighboring countries.

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Ambassador du Hellen stressed that the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to Tripoli, with his colleagues from Germany and Italy, arrived to confirm to Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dabaiba and to the Foreign Minister Najla Al-Manqoush full European support for the new national unity government.

The Paris correspondent reiterated that Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian clearly stated that the European Union takes the side of the new executive authority, providing the necessary assistance to carry out the democratic transformation that Libyans await until the elections scheduled for December 24, 2021. The diplomat has defined compliance with the ceasefire and the departure of foreign fighters as a fundamental issue. She also confirmed her country’s readiness to support Libyan people in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Like France, other countries have recently announced they will reopen their embassies in Tripoli, such as Malta and Egypt. In this regard, the foreign minister of the Tripoli government, Mohamed Sayala, held a meeting with an Egyptian delegation on February 15, during which the reopening of the Cairo embassy in Tripoli was considered.

As reported by Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mohammed al-Qiblawi, the Egyptian delegation has come to Tripoli to officially announce the opening of a consulate inside the Cairo embassy in the Libyan capital, where diplomats and security officials will begin providing services to the Egyptian community residing in Libya. This is a first step towards the complete reopening of the Egyptian embassy and towards the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Egyptian embassy in Tripoli was closed in 2014 after Libyan gunmen broke into the building and kidnapped four members of the diplomatic staff, who were subsequently released. During the Libyan crisis, Cairo stood alongside the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar and, even following the ceasefire, it never completely left the scene.

In this context, on 28 and 29 September 2020, it was the Egyptian city of Hurghada that hosted one of the first rounds of the 5 + 5 Joint Military Committee talks, during which “recommendations” deemed relevant for the stabilization of the cessation were provided. the fire and the achievement of a permanent truce in Libya. However, while during the years of the conflict Cairo seemed to be interested only in the Libyan east, now, with the opening of the consulate, the country seems to be willing to establish relations with all Libyan parties.

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