Tunisian President in Libya for talks with the new unity government | Middle East News

President Kais Saied becomes the first head of state to visit the war-torn country a day after an interim administration seized power in Tripoli.

Tunisian President Kais Saied traveled to neighboring Libya for talks with newly appointed government officials in Tripoli, becoming the first head of state to visit the war-torn country a day after an administration took power temp worker.

Saied landed on Wednesday at Mitiga International Airport in the capital, where he was received by Mohammad Younes Menfi, head of the Libyan Presidential Council, who hailed the visit as “historic”.

The couple then had talks in which they discussed reviving bilateral agreements and trade, strengthening investments and facilitating relations between their central banks, according to a statement from the Tunisian presidency.

“We will work together to restore normal relations at all levels,” Menfi said during a brief press conference later with Saied.

The Tunisian president also met with Libya’s new interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who was sworn in on Monday and is responsible for governing until the December elections.

Discussions focused on strengthening relations in areas such as “economy, health, transport and education”, according to the Tunisian presidency.

“It’s time to overcome all the causes of alienation,” Saied said, without giving further details.

He also called for “stepping up efforts” to uncover the fate of Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari, missing in 2014 in the Libyan region of Ajdabiya. ISIL, which had been active in eastern Libya at the time, said the two journalists were killed. But Tunisian officials have refuted this claim.

Tunisia had been a key economic partner of Libya before the uprisings spawned the two countries 10 years ago. Trade between the two countries fell to less than $ 363 million, from more than $ 1.2 billion in 2010, according to the official Tunisian news agency.

The first such visit since 2012, Saied’s trip aims to show “Tunisia’s support for the democratic process in Libya” and for greater “stability and prosperity,” his office said.

The president was joined by Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi and Saied Nadia Akacha’s main advisor.

Interim government

In November, Tunisia hosted talks at the Libyan political forum chosen by the United Nations, which ultimately produced a roadmap that appointed the interim government to lead Libya in the December 24 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The appointment of the interim government, which includes a three-member presidential council headed by Menfi and a cabinet headed by Dbeibah, rekindled hopes for stability in oil-rich Libya after the chaos that followed following a sustained uprising by NATO in 2011 which overthrew longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The Menfi-Dbeibah government replaced rival administrations based in the east and west, which have left Libya divided in recent years between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and an administration based in the east, supported by renegade military commander Khalifa. Haftar.

The two sides reached a ceasefire in October.

While the GNA was supported by Turkey and Qatar, Haftar received support from the United Arab Emirates, Russia, France and Egypt. Thousands of foreign fighters and mercenaries remain in Libya.

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