This week, the U.S. House passed the “Libya Stabilization Act” from U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.
Deutch, the chairman of the U.S. House North Africa and Middle East Subcommittee, introduced the bill in October 2019. U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC, the top Republican on the subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-NJ, cosponsored the bill which cleared the House on a voice vote.
“Since April 2019, Libya has increasingly endured foreign intervention in an escalating conflict that undermines U.S. interests and regional stability. The war has provided Russia a foothold in North Africa and influence over Libya’s energy industry, undermined NATO solidarity and threatened European security, destabilized Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean more broadly, and exacerbated a humanitarian and migrant crisis,” Deutch’s office noted.
“The Libya Stabilization Act sanctions those who deploy mercenaries, support militias, violate the UN arms embargo, and commit human rights violations in Libya. It also calls on the United States to take a more active role in diplomacy to resolve the conflict; to support humanitarian assistance, democratic governance, civil society, and future elections; and to improve Libya’s public sector financial management, specifically of the Central Bank and National Oil Corporation, which are flashpoints between the warring parties,” the congressman’s office added.
Deutch weighed in on the bill clearing the House on Thursday.
“Congress has not lifted its attention from Libya,” Deutch said. “In fact, with this bill’s passage, a bipartisan House is notifying all parties to the conflict, including outside actors, of our support for diplomacy and our willingness to use sanctions against obstructive actors that undermine ongoing political talks and refuse to withdraw military arms and forces from Libya. We are committed to work with our partners in Europe, the UN, regional states, and the Libyan people to achieve a comprehensive political solution to finally end the conflict and help rebuild Libya. I call on my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the president’s desk.”
“For nearly a decade now, Libya has been beset by civil war fueled by toxic foreign interference at the expense of the lives and future of the Libyan people. With the passage of the Libya Stabilization Act by the House of Representatives, Congress is sending a clear message in support of a sovereign Libya free of foreign intervention,” said Wilson. This crucial bill will place a real cost on foreign powers who have meddled in Libya and prolonged the suffering of the Libyan people, especially the Russian Federation. I am grateful that this bill also importantly provides much-needed support for Libyan civil society to strengthen the democratic institutions of the Libyan state.”
“It has been important for Congress to step in where the White House hasn’t in terms of driving policy decisions around Libya,” Lieu said. “As a global leader, the United States cannot allow bad actors to take advantage of regional instability and worsen the humanitarian crisis in Libya. Our bill is intended to strengthen our government’s role in diplomatic efforts to bring peace to Libya and end this conflict.”
Over in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced a companion bill last year. The bill has been before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations for the past year.
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