CAIRO ( Associated Press) – A handful of top Arab diplomats gathered in the Libyan capital on Sunday in a boycott by powerful foreign ministers who argued the Tripoli-based government’s mandate had expired.
Local media reported that five of the 22 Arab League member states sent their foreign ministers to the regular consultation meeting, including Algeria and Tunisia. Others only sent representatives.
Among those who boycotted the meeting was Egypt, which has questioned the legitimacy of Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dabibah’s government after Libya’s eastern-based parliament appointed a rival prime minister last year. The foreign ministers of monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul-Ghait, did not attend.
Ahead of Sunday’s meeting, authorities in the Libyan capital gave civil servants a day off and closed major roads around Mitiga airport, the capital’s only functional airport and a luxury hotel where the meeting took place.
Libya’s current political impasse was due to the failure to hold elections in December 2021 and Dabibah’s refusal to step down. In response, the country’s eastern-based parliament appointed a rival prime minister, Fathi Bashagha, who has for months sought to install his own government in Tripoli.
The longstanding standoff between the two governments sparked a flurry of conflicts in Tripoli last year, threatening a return to civil war in the oil-rich country after months of calm.