Will Qatar help Libya economically recover?
Qatar backs unity government
Qatar has reiterated its support to Libya’s internationally-backed political process, which aims to end 10 years of chaos and “foreign interference” in the North African country.
“We support the UN-sponsored political process in the hope that it preserves the territorial integrity of Libya and prevents foreign interference in its affairs,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on a visit to the Libyan capital on Sunday.
“Our exchanges were fruitful, in particular on support for the transition process in Libya … Qatar’s position is firm,” he told reporters, standing alongside his Libyan counterpart, Najla al-Mangoush.
Since Libya’s new government took power, several countries have reopened embassies, and al-Mangoush said she hoped that Doha would soon follow suit.
“I think I have had good news,” al-Mangoush added, without providing further details.
The toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising plunged Libya into a bloody struggle for power.
But in October, rival groups signed a truce, setting in motion a United Nations-led process.
Libya’s interim unity government came into being in March, replacing two rival administrations – one the UN-recognised government based in the capital Tripoli and the other in the country’s east allied to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar – to lead the country to elections in December.
Qatar, along with Turkey, had backed the internationally recognized government in the west of Libya, while countries including the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt had backed the eastern forces.
According to the U.N., more than 20,000 foreign mercenaries and military personnel are still in Libya. They include Russian, Sudanese and Chadian mercenaries.
Qatar to boost ties with Libya
The Libyan Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah reviewed with the Qatari Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, boosting bilateral relations.
The Qatari Foreign Minister arrived in Tripoli Sunday and met with Dbeibah in the presence of officials from both sides, including Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush, who held with the Qatari counterpart a joint press conference tackling issues of mutual interest.
The Qatari Foreign Minister reiterated support for the new Libyan executive authority, and explained that both Libya and Qatar had agreed to form a working team to assess areas of support to the Government of National Unity and the Libyan people.
Al Thani said that Qatar’s stance toward Libya has always been steady and in support of the political process under the auspices of the United Nations, adding that Doha was looking forward to the visits of the Libyan Presidential Council and Government of National Unity officials to boost cooperation.
In the meantime, the Libyan Foreign Minister reiterated the importance of the resumption of Qatari embassy work in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, hailing previous agreements in electricity projects and said Libya was looking forward to the implementation of those agreements, in addition to forming joint committees to assess the MoUs with Qatar.
Qatar and Turkey to help Libya recover
Although we have not seen much to prove that Qatar will invest in the Libyan economy, initial signs are positive, and Qatar’s close geopolitical ally, Turkey have already pledged to help the Libyan economy recover.
“During Libya’s reconstruction process, our cooperation for investment and technical cooperation in all fields from industry to infrastructure and superstructure investments, from health to energy, from education to banking will continue,” Ruhsar Pekcan, Turkish trade minister, said in a statement following a meeting with her Libyan counterparts, part of a high-level delegation paying an official visit to the capital Ankara.
“Turkey is ready to take responsibility in these areas,” she said, adding that it is important to draw up a roadmap to accelerate bilateral economic and commercial ties.
“I think that in the upcoming period, we will determine the fields of cooperation together through dialogue and move forward on this ground,” she stressed.
Pekcan noted that in 2013 the trade volume between Turkey and Libya was $3.6 billion, adding that Turkey will be happy to see it reach these levels again.
Should this happen, possible openings to Qatari investments will increase, and the willingness is already increasingly visible. However, it all depends on the success of the interim government in holding elections at the end of the year, which would ensure, at least temporarily, the political stability needed for economic recovery.