Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that there is “no room for further procrastination” among Libyan parties to come to agreement on a national unity government, after the signing of a UN-backed deal was postponed for the third time.
Also on Friday at the United Nations in New York, Shoukry met with the American Jewish Committee.
Shoukry’s comments on Libya came during a high-level ministerial meeting, including Middle Eastern states, the US, Britain and Italy. The meeting was originally envisioned to celebrate the signing of the political agreement drafted in July.
However ongoing objections from both parties have push-backed its completion, as fighting continues to rage across Libya. The new date for reaching the agreement is set for 20 October.
The peace deal drafted by the UN calls for a one-year unity government, with the current internationally-recognised parliament as the legislature, but with a second chamber serving as a consultative body
However, the internationally-recognised Tobruk government has been reluctant regarding power-sharing, and says a deal cannot be made while the capital is held by force, and the Tripoli-based rival General National Congress rejects the proposed offer of powers.
“It is no longer acceptable for further delay in the signing of the political agreement and forming a government of national reconciliation,” Shoukry said, highlighting that the Security Council has the right to impose sanctions on individuals who threaten its process.
Nonetheless, the UN has not delineated any sanctions that could be implemented to encourage Libyan groups to settle on the agreement.
“As we work to ensure this text is accepted by the Libyans, let us be clear: All those who choose to remain outside this framework will be responsible for the consequences and suffering that will ensue,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the meeting.
Also on Friday, Shoukry received a delegation of the American Jewish Committee to the office of Egypt’s permanent mission to the UN. According to a Foreign Ministry handout, the conversation mainly covered American-Egyptian relations and stability across the Middle East. Shoukry stressed the importance of US investment in Egypt, as well as political and military relations in light of shared problems around the region.
The conversation also covered Iran and the US’ nuclear deal. The AJC is opposed to the deal and campaigned against it.
In July, an AJC delegation visited Egypt and met with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, Shoukry, and then-prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab.
Al-Sisi and Mehleb stressed the importance of resolving the Palestine issue with the delegation. Al-Sisi stated that resolving it “will eliminate one of the most important reasons relied upon by terrorists” to attract people to join their cause.
The AJC is a lobby organisation founded in 1906 to “prevent infringement of the civil and religious rights of Jews”, and later evolved into a Jewish as well as Israeli lobby organisation.