by Mahmoud Fouly, Emad al-Azrak
CAIRO, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian recent initiative on Libya is considered a "roadmap" to end the crisis in the war-torn neighboring country through a peaceful solution that spares devastating options, said Egyptian political experts.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced on June 6 an initiative to end the Libyan internal conflict following his meeting in Cairo with Libyan eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar and Tobruk-based parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.
Dubbed Cairo Declaration, the Egyptian plan proposes implementing a cease-fire between Libyan warring parties starting from June 8, disbanding militias, handing over their arms, pulling out foreign forces, electing a ruling presidential council representing all Libyans and drafting a constitutional declaration to regulate elections for later stages.
"The Egyptian initiative is considered a framework and a roadmap to spare Libya destructive paths, such as an open military conflict that leads to a national suicide or a frozen conflict leading to a national paralysis," Samir Ragheb, head of the Arab Foundation for Development and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua.
The expert described the Cairo-sponsored peace plan as "an opportunity" for Libyans to get out of the crisis through a fair settlement based on inter-Libyan interaction and cooperation rather than foreign interference and conflict-fueling groups.
On June 6, Sisi said in a joint press conference with Haftar and Saleh that the Egyptian initiative marks "a beginning for a new stage towards the return of normal and safe life to Libya," noting that the plan calls for continuing the UN-sponsored talks by the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission in Geneva.
The initiative seeks unifying and reinstating Libyan institutions and handing over the country's security and military responsibilities to Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) in cooperation with the security apparatuses.
Ragheb explained that the initiative requires international mobilization to pass it through a UN Security Council resolution and make it "implementable and viable."
The Egyptian expert warned that if the initiative is declined, the alternatives will be the continuous military conflict and foreign military intervention, with Libya becoming an increasingly attractive destination for mercenaries, terrorists and foreign forces.
"A political settlement with peaceful transition of power through a constitutional path, which preserves the unity and integrity of the Libyan territories, is the only way to settle the Libyan conflict, as stressed by in the initiative," Ragheb said.
Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rivals with warring forces, namely the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and eastern-based Haftar's LNA.
Mohamed Fathi al-Sherif, an Egyptian researcher in Libyan affairs, considered the Cairo-led peace plan as the most important initiative recently proposed on the Libyan crisis, expecting it to "greatly contribute to ending the conflict in Libya."
"The Egyptian initiative comes at a very critical time with the goal of protecting Libyans, preserving the Libyan resources and reviving the political course for ending the conflict as sought by the international community," al-Sherif told Xinhua.
Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia support Haftar's LNA, while the GNA is backed by Turkey and Qatar, in addition to Italy.
The Egyptian researcher said that the Cairo Declaration on Libya will be fruitful if the international community succeeds in pressuring Turkey to stop its military intervention in the Libyan domestic conflict.
"The Libyan crisis will only be resolved through a peaceful path," al-Sherif emphasized, expecting the international community to strongly press all Libyan parties to engage in political dialogue and implement the Egyptian initiative.
Approved by Haftar and his Libyan partners, the Cairo proposal was welcomed by several countries including the United States, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Jordan.
The researcher expected Egypt to have had understandings with key players and influential states ahead of proposing the initiative, "which is seen in the well reception and support of the initiative by most countries." Enditem