The Address | Benghazi – Libya
BRUSSELS – The European Union plans to remove lift sanctions on the Speaker of Libya’s House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, to encourage peace efforts and ensure the EU plays a central role in any negotiated settlement, Reuters reports, citing diplomatic sources.
The EU has blacklisted Saleh since 2016, along with a number of other Libyan officials accused of obstructing peace efforts. But the three diplomats interviewed by Reuters said he was now a key figure in a push to bring the two sides of the Libyan conflict together.
According to the diplomats, EU states are working to remove the travel bans and asset freezes on Saleh and also on Nouri Abusahmain, president of Libya’ s former General National Congress in Tripoli, and Khalifa al-Ghwell, former Libyan prime minister .
“There’s a window of opportunity now for the EU to move. [Joseph] Borrell is pressing EU states to realize just how close and how important Libya is,” one EU diplomat said.
“We are heading towards a delisting of Saleh. It enables us to send a signal to ‘spoilers’ because frankly everybody is talking to him,” a second EU diplomat said.
According to Reuters, the EU has also agreed in principle to add sanctions on two Libyan individuals and three Libyan companies, including those linked to the maritime and aviation sector, as part of efforts to enforce a U.N. arms embargo.