Libya has witnessed a long period of political turmoil amid stalled elections.
Qatar was among few regional countries at an Arab League Foreign Ministers consultative meeting held in Libya on Sunday, which was shunned by 14 members of the bloc including its secretary-general, Al Jazeera reported.
The Gulf state was represented by its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi, who also met with Libyan officials during his trip to the country.
During the meeting, which comes ahead of an upcoming gathering in Cairo, Al Muraikhi stressed the need to support the region’s security and stability.
The Qatari official also called on Libyan parties to engage in dialogue “as means to overcome differences and create an environment for holding presidential and legislative elections”.
A statement by Doha’s foreign ministry said Al Muraikhi “reiterated the State of Qatar’s siding with the Arab consensus, in line with its firm and principled stance on supporting the unity, stability and sovereignty of the Arab countries.”
Apart from Qatar, other regional members that were in attendance included Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Oman, Palestine and Comoros.
However, there was a visible absence of a number of other diplomats from the region in what appeared to be a clear shunning of the United Nations-backed Libyan Government of National Unity (GNU).
Notably, the seat of the Arab League’s Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit was also empty.
The lack of attendance signals a split in the region’s stance in Libya, which has faced a long period of political turmoil, especially in the aftermath of the Arab Spring in 2011.
Last year, tensions in Libya increased between the UN-backed administration and the newly-appointed rival administration of Fathi Bashagha—widely viewed as rogue General Khalifa Haftar’s ally.
It came as internationally-recognised interim prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah was scheduled to remain in power until the presidential elections of December 2021, which have been delayed.
During the meeting in Tripoli, Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangoush slammed what she described as “attempts by certain sides to crush Libyans’ desire to transform Arab solidarity into a reality”, as quoted by AFP.
Speaking to the press, Al-Mangoush stressed that Libya is “determined to play its role in the Arab League” and “rejects any attempt to politicise the League’s founding documents.”
Qatar has long called for peace and stability in Libya as it grapples with a worsening political situation.
Speaking at the UN last year, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani demanded an immediate international response in order to complete the Libyan political process.
“Everyone realises that the state cannot be restored without uniting the military forces and rehabilitating the armed factions into a single national army, discarding those who reject this solution and holding them accountable,” the amir said.
Concerns over conditions in Libya have increased, with international organisations including the UN urging dialogue and the formation of “a unified Libyan government”.