In recent months there has been renewed fighting within Libya. General Haftar’s military offensive towards Tripoli has displaced an estimated 90,000 people and trapped thousands of migrants in detention centres. At least 600 Libyans are believed to have been killed since April and many more wounded. The UN’s Special Envoy, Ghassan Salamé, has warned that the conflict is at risk of mutating, and highlighted the possibility of a further wave of mass migration that could destabilise North Africa and southern Europe.
In response to this deteriorating situation, Forward Thinking facilitated meetings for a delegation from the House of Representatives (Libya’s parliamentary body) in London. The aim of the visit was to update British policymakers on = the current situation in Libya and to explore how the UK can help to bring a political solution to the conflict back into focus. Meetings also highlighted the humanitarian situation, as much of the fighting is taking place in civilian areas. With both sides having only committed 30-40% of their forces so far, they feel there is an urgent need to reinvigorate the diplomatic process before the fighting escalates further.
Meetings were organised with senior politicians from across the political spectrum, allowing the delegation to hear a wide range of perspectives. However, a common theme that emerged from the discussions was the impossibility of there being any long-term military solution to the conflict and the need to reinvigorate the political process. There was some optimism concerning the new peace initiative of Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj, which it was hoped could provide a path forward.