EU takes east Libya’s powerbroker Saleh off sanctions blacklist

USA & World

EU takes east Libya’s powerbroker Saleh off sanctions blacklist

The European Union has removed an east Libyan powerbroker from its sanctions blacklist to encourage peace efforts and ensure the EU plays a central role in any negotiated settlement in Libya.

Aguila Saleh, leader of a rival parliament in eastern Libya, no longer faces EU travel bans and asset freezes imposed four years ago, the EU said on Friday, confirming a Reuters report on September 9 that the so-called delisting was planned.

“The de-listing of speaker Saleh was agreed in light of his recent constructive engagement in support of a negotiated political solution to the Libyan crisis,” an EU statement said.

After months of inaction, European powers see a chance to reassert their role in Libya – which has been in turmoil since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi – after a ceasefire in August and to counter growing Turkish and Russian military involvement.

The United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in June turned back a 14-month assault on the capital Tripoli by the eastern-based self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two are now dug in along a front line near the strategic city of Sirte.

Saleh is seen as having gained clout as a negotiating force relative to Haftar.

The EU now sees Saleh as a pivotal figure in a push to bring the two sides of the Libyan conflict together.