A broad-based group of foreign policy leaders have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
urging continued and increased U.S. engagement in Libya and support for its transition to democracy.
“While Libya faces real and serious challenges to its transition, it also has a unique opportunity to emerge as a strong and healthy democracy,” said the letter, which was signed by 27 organizations, including the World Bank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, New America Foundation, Atlantic Council, and U.S.-Libya Business Association (USLBA). “The United States can play an important role in Libya’s democratic transition, and it is in our strategic, economic, and political interests to do so. A successful transition in Libya would also be an important model for democracies emerging elsewhere in the region, and greater engagement can make Libya a bulwark against, rather than a catalyst for, regional instability.”
The coalition also outlined key steps the U.S. Administration should take with U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones now in place, including:
• Supporting the recently announced Libyan National Dialogue initiative to ensure that it empowers a diverse array of Libyan voices—not only political elites—and incorporates extensive outreach to each region.
• Pledging support and expertise to Libya for its constitution writing process.
• Expanding cooperation and funding to address justice and security sector reform.
• Increasing diplomatic engagement and public advocacy.
• Encouraging the Libyan government to resolve contract disputes and sign agreements for the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the U.S. Export-Import Bank to open for business in Libya.
“Continued U.S. support for Libya’s transition to democracy is in our national interest, and it is critical that the U.S. government continues to find ways to deepen our diplomatic and economic cooperation,” said USLBA Executive Director Chuck Dittrich. “Now more than ever the United States must stand with the people of Libya to realize the promises of self determination, democracy, economic opportunity and full integration into the rules-based global economy.” - Eric Johnson