Tunisia calls for dialogue in Libya

30 September 2015

Essid says International support and dialogue are solutions to regional crises

  • Tunisia prime minister calls for political solution to violence in Libya and other Arab countries in speech to UN
  • Essid requests international support for Tunisia’s economic reforms and development programme

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid used his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York to call for a political solution in neighbouring Libya.

“The Libyan people are seeing the fallout of a crisis that threatens stability and security,” said Essid. “It goes beyond the borders of the Libyan state to jeopardise the stability of the whole region, in particular Tunisia.”

Thousands of Tunisians are thought to have crossed the porous border between the countries to join militias in Libya’s civil war. The perpetrators of two lethal terrorist attacks in Tunisia in 2015 may have been trained in Libya.

“We believe dialogue remains the sole solution to overcome internal differences, ensure national reconciliation and respect the will of the Libyan people,” said Essid. “Tunisia supports the efforts to find a political solution under the aegis of the UN, to find a political agreement and create a national reconciliation-based government.”

The UN is leading reconciliation talks between Libya’s rival governments in the hopes of ending violence there.

Video:

Habib Essid, Tunisia, UN speech

Video:

Habib Essid, Tunisia, UN speech

The House of Representatives, which was elected in the 2014 vote, is now based in the eastern port city of Tobruk, while the Islamist-led General National Congress, which is supported by the powerful Libya Dawn militia coalition, holds sway in Tripoli.

The jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) is also exploiting the chaos to create a foothold in the country and destabilise Tunisia. Essid has requested international cooperation for his country’s efforts to stem terrorism threats.

He has called for political solutions in Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and welcomed any coordinated international efforts to combat terrorism.

Essid has also requested the international community’s support for Tunisia’s economic programme.

“The success of any political process is contingent on the efforts made on the economic and social fronts by the Tunisian government, guided by its awareness of the need to tackle current challenges, especially unemployment, strengthening development investment as well as ensuring social justice,” said Essid.

“We urge the international community, our partners and friends, to support national efforts, in particular in the areas of youth employment, strengthening investment and support to local and national development.”

Tunisia’s unemployment level was at 15.2 per cent in mid-2015, concentrated among young people and the deprived interior regions. It has launched a five-year plan focusing on business reforms, regional development and job creation, but will need international financial institutions to fund its implementation.

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