Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis' visit to Libya came nine days after the Paris International Conference for Libya, at which the Foreign Minister had already exchanged views with his counterpart Najla Mangoush. During the discussions in Tripoli, Mr Cassis reiterated Switzerland's support for lasting peace and stability in the country, where presidential and parliamentary elections will be held at the end of December. As Mr Cassis emphasised in the meeting: "Switzerland supports the roadmap for the electoral process set out by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) and welcomes the holding of elections."
Other topics discussed included the challenges in the area of migration, developments in human rights, and the humanitarian situation in the country.. These are the priorities that the Federal Council established for Libya in its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Strategy 2021–24.
Switzerland's active role in Libya
Switzerland is working to bring about lasting stability and reconciliation in Libya. It has been engaged in the UN peace process for Libya since 2020 and chairs the International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Working Group as part of the Berlin process. Switzerland regularly hosts various meetings within the framework of the UN process for Libya. The unified executive authority for Libya was also elected in Switzerland in February 2021.
In the field of humanitarian aid, Switzerland's support focuses on the protection of civilians and is provided in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations World Food Programme, as well as with NGOs. Switzerland has invested around CHF 5 million in Libya over the course of this year to help fund medical care for the most vulnerable and measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic among other things.
First visit by a federal councillor to Libya since 2010
Mr Cassis was the first federal councillor to travel to Libya since 2010. "My visit demonstrates how important the peace and stabilisation process in Libya is to Switzerland," Mr Cassis said in Tripoli. The Libyan government had already convened a stabilisation conference in Tripoli on 21 October, at which Switzerland was represented by its ambassador in Tunis.
The visit to Libya marks the end of a four-day trip that also took Mr Cassis to Slovenia and Saudi Arabia. He was accompanied by member of the Council of States Marianne Maret (centre/VS) and member of the National Countil Jacqueline de Quattro (FDP/VD).
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