Former Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha has emphasized the importance of holding presidential and parliamentary elections to unify Libya and facilitate its transition to sustainable development.
Bashagha made his remarks at a meeting with Turkish intellectuals, academics, and journalists in Istanbul Monday.
He called for opening channels of dialogue with the Libyan East, saying that Turkey could play a positive role in this regard as it did in the western part of Libya.
“We hope it will have a positive role in the eastern region by opening channels of dialogue…We want the region to see renaissance and scientific progress to guide Libya towards prosperity.”
He went on to say that there is a rapprochement taking place between the East and West after the cessation of hostilities, which created an environment for establishing security in the country, referring to the resumption of air traffic and the opening of the coastal road.
Bashagha called on Turkey to look at the situation in Libya from multiple angles and work to build bridges with the eastern region.
“The relationship with Egypt has improved, and there is an ambassador for Egypt in the western region, so that is why we are asking Turkey to be present in the East and West,” Bashagha said.
He explained that Libyans give more attention to the relationship with Egypt than the Emirates. “Egypt is a neighbour and a big country, unlike the distant Emirates…We want to reduce the number of our enemies.”
Talking about the agreements with Turkey, the former foreign minister stressed the necessity of preserving the maritime border demarcation agreement between Turkey and Libya because of the interest of both countries.
He also addressed the planned elections next December, indicating that the key actors in the eastern region acknowledge that the presidential elections are difficult to win, so their eyes are set on the parliamentary elections, while the western powers are focusing more on the presidential elections.
“The retired Major General Khalifa Haftar has lost his popularity among the people in the eastern region because he lost his project.”
“The families lost their children, he (Haftar) attacked the capital and lost control of the rest of the region. People always walk away from the loser.”
He underscored that Libya needs strong leadership that can make the right decision and leads the country on the path of development, but that should not be through dictatorial and military rule.
“How can we guarantee a strong president but not a dictator? The election must take place directly from the people, and the president must derive his authority from the people and all regions of Libya.” Bashagha added.