Contact Group on Libya meets in Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA - The International Contact Group on Libya (ICGL) convened on Wednesday in Addis Ababa to assess the situation on the ground in Libya amid boycott from the Libyan government and Egypt.

African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Ismail Chergui presides over the meeting along with the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to the African Union Haile Menkerios.

Representatives from Libya's neighboring nations, Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the Arab League are attending among other participants.

In his opening remarks, Chergui said despite some encouraging steps as of late, the current situation in Libya is "generally bleak."

"The African Union stands ready to support united efforts [on Libya]," Chergui said, and called on all political actors in Libya to bear their responsibilities and "show statesmanship."

For his part, Menkerios said the international community has been witnessing deepening political, institutional and military crises unfolding in Libya.

He also pointed out to a round of dialogue that was concluded Tuesday in Geneva between Libyan rivals.

"Inclusiveness is critical," he said, calling on a broad-based dialogue including the armed groups across Libya. "Recent progress is encouraging but remains fragile," he said.

Egypt and Libya have boycotted the opening session in protest over the presence of Qatar and Turkey at the meeting, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Dairi walked out of the conference room within minutes after the start of the opening session, while his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry failed to attend the session, which was delayed for half an hour.

The two diplomat's absence as well as the session's delay signaled the failure of reported attempts by African Union and UN officials to convince Egypt and Libya to attend the conference.

Egypt and Libya had objected to the AU's invitation to Turkey and Qatar to take part in the conference at the pan-African body's headquarters in Addis Ababa, an African diplomat had told The Anadolu Agency.

However, African officials had insisted on Doha and Ankara's presence, saying the two countries have a stake in the Libyan conflict, the source said.

Libya has remained in a state of turmoil since the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011. Rival militias have frequently clashed in Libya's main cities, including capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.

Political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government in the country, each of which has its own institutions.

Vying for legislative authority are the internationally-backed House of Representatives, which convenes in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the Islamist-led General National Congress, which – even though its mandate has ended – continues to convene in Tripoli.

The two assemblies support two different governments headquartered in the two respective cities as well as two military entities.

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