By Edward P. Joseph, for the Center for the National Interest.
“They came, they didn’t meet, they pronounced it a success.” This is the skeptical press line on the latest international bid to stabilize Libya—the Italian hosted “parley in Palermo” this month that was more fizzle than sizzle.
After keeping the organizers in suspense, Libya’s most prominent figure, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the breakaway Libyan National Army in the east, showed up in Palermo, only to snub the hosts by holding side-meetings that excluded a number of Libyan rivals as well as Turkey and Qatar. The ballyhooed conference ended without an agreed statement, achieving only incremental progress in security and economic working groups.
The main accomplishment was trumpeting the upcoming ‘National Conference’—the ambitious vision of United Nations envoy Ghassan Salamé to give a vast cross-section of Libyans a voice in charting a path to stability for the troubled, terrorist-infested country. The grand National Conference would, in turn, serve as the catalyst for long-overdue elections.
(Source: Center for the National Interest)