(February 17, 2013)
By Essam Mohamed
Libya on Sunday (February 17th) marked the second anniversary of the revolt that ultimately toppled Moamer Kadhafi.
On Friday, thousands of people gathered in Tripoli and Benghazi to celebrate the initial February 15th, 2011 protest that ignited the historic uprising two days later.
Meanwhile, international backers of the Libyan revolution gathered last week in Paris, where they pledged to provide continuing security support to the country’s nascent democratic government. Officials from Africa, the Middle East, the US and Europe attended the February 12th summit at the French foreign ministry in Paris.
“Much has already been achieved but issues remain,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in his opening address to the gathering. International partners should send “experts to train Libyan security forces and police, and help to rebuild the army, navy and air force”, he said.
Libya’s international partners confirmed their full support for the interim government in its determination to implement a plan to enhance national security, boost justice and rule of law, and build a democratic, prosperous and stable state.
The partner nations also voiced their support for the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya’s security and stability as well reiterating their backing for the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
While acknowledging Libya’s achievement in electing a democratic government, they admitted the country was left with a heavy historic burden inherited from decades of rule by a repressive regime that left behind weak state institutions, rampant corruption and limited economic opportunities.
The partners said they would like to see the newly-made progress in the political scene give the Libyan government a chance to proceed with resolve in the task of state building.
The summit wrapped up with the Paris Declaration, which noted the challenges facing Libya included reintegrating former revolutionaries, disarmament and border security.
The conference also praised the Libyan government’s comprehensive plan for security, justice, and the rule of law. Participants voiced their full support for Libya’s efforts in dealing with the security challenges facing the country and in preparing effective and responsible infrastructure for the police and defence forces.
The international partners expressed their political, technical and material support for the Libyan government’s efforts to deal with these challenges, whether by reforming the security sector or finding security solutions for operations.
They also expressed their willingness to help the Libyan government enhance border security, and encouraged the government to draw up a comprehensive plan for managing borders as soon as possible.
They welcomed the European Union’s decision to send a civilian mission under Europe’s Common Security and Defence Policy to be concerned with the management of borders. The mission is scheduled to be deployed in June.
The partners reiterated their commitment to support Libya in dealing with the urgent issue of arms and ammunition leftover from Kadhafi’s stockpiles.
They welcomed the steps that the Libyan government has taken so far with neighbouring countries to deal with the challenges along the country’s borders in line with Tripoli action plan, which was approved at a regional ministerial conference that was held last March.
Participants also stressed the need to enhance stability through the interim period by implementing programmes to reintegrate revolutionaries in security forces or help them re-join society.
They also discussed the need for the Libyan judiciary to operate in full compliance with international standards, adopt legislation, such as the transitional justice project, and to implement the necessary measures to push reconciliation forward.