Foreign relations of Libya

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Nations with which Libya has diplomatic relations.

The foreign relations of Libya were largely reset at the end of the Libyan Civil War, with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and the Second Libyan Civil War. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs since 15 March 2021 is Najla Mangoush. Although many foreign embassies in Tripoli closed down in 2014 due to the fighting, by the end of 2017 thirty diplomatic missions were reopened in the Libyan capital.[1]

Foreign policy of Libya[edit]

In its 5 March 2011 "Founding Statement", the council stated, "[We] request from the international community to fulfill its obligations to protect the Libyan people from any further genocide and crimes against humanity without any direct military intervention on Libyan soil."[2] Ali Al-Issawi was designated the Council's foreign affairs spokesperson in March 2011.[3] Mahmoud Jibril later replaced Ali Al-Issawi and was designated as the Head of International Affairs.

The NTC has also called on the international community to render assistance to its efforts to dislodge Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the ruler of Libya since 1969, and his loyalists. Officials have asked for medical supplies,[4] money,[5] and weapons,[citation needed] among other forms of foreign aid. In late June 2011, it proposed using internationally based frozen assets belonging to Gaddafi and his inner circle as collateral for loans, with Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni warning that his government is virtually out of money.[6] The NTC has previously asked for those assets to be unfrozen and transferred to Benghazi,[7] a request officials of the Obama administration in the United States indicated they would try to fulfill.[8][9]

NTC officials have said that they intend to reward countries that have been early to recognise the council as the legitimate representative of Libya, as well as countries that have been involved in the international military intervention to suppress Gaddafi's forces. Among the incentives the council has offered to these countries, which it considers to be allies, are favorable oil contracts[10][11] and other economic ties.[12] On 15 July 2011, a council spokesman told members of the Libya Contact Group meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, that his government would not forge any new oil contracts and that an elected government must be in place before new deals could be made.[13]

After anti-Gaddafi forces stormed Tripoli, the Libyan capital city, the information manager at NTC-run oil firm AGOCO said on 22 August that once Libya resumed oil exports, its new government "may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil" and favor Western and Arab countries that supported the uprising against Gaddafi when awarding oil contracts.[14] However, on 23 August, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said his government had been assured that if the NTC took power in Libya, "contracts will be respected" and Brazil would not be punished for its stance.[15] On 1 September, an NTC representative in Paris claimed that the new Libyan government would not award oil contracts based on politics, though he said that a number of Western companies, including BP, Total, Eni, and "major American companies", had a particularly "good track record in the Libyan oil sector".[16]

Foreign policy history[edit]

The foreign relations of the Libya under Muammar Gaddafi (1969–2011) underwent much fluctuation and change. They were marked by severe tension with the West and by other national policies in the Middle East and Africa, including the Libyan government's financial and military support for numerous paramilitary and rebel groups.

Bilateral relations[edit]

Africa[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Algeria 24 August 1963 See Algeria–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 August 1963.[17]

The NTC occasionally took an aggressive posture toward governments it accused of supporting Gaddafi in the civil war,[18] especially that of Algeria, which it claimed allowed Gaddafi's government to transport mercenaries and military equipment through its territory.[19][20][21]

The NTC reacted harshly after several members of the Gaddafi government, including members of his family, entered Algeria and were granted political asylum in Algiers. On 29 August 2011, it said that Algeria sheltering Gaddafi or his family members would be viewed as an "act of aggression".[22] However, while the Algerian government permitted Gaddafi's relatives to remain in the country, it warned Aisha Gaddafi at least twice over political comments she made criticising the NTC while in Algeria.[23]

On 16 April 2012, Libyan leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil met with Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika in Algiers. After the meeting, he expressed confidence "that [Algeria] would not shelter those who represent a threat for Libya’s security", an apparent reference to members of Gaddafi's family who were granted asylum in Algeria the previous year. Libyan and Algerian officials also discussed cooperation on border security.[23]

 Angola 30 March 1976 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 March 1976.[24]
 Benin 31 March 1973 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 31 March 1973.[25]
 Botswana 14 March 1977 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 14 March 1977.[26]
 Burkina Faso 12 January 1981 See Burkina Faso–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 12 January 1981.[27]

 Burundi 19 April 1973 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 19 April 1973.[28]
 Cameroon 3 August 1969 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 3 August 1969.[29]
 Central African Republic 6 May 1971 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 6 May 1971[30]
 Comoros 1 April 1976 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 April 1976[31]
 Democratic Republic of the Congo June 1969 Both countries established diplomatic relations in June 1969[32]
 Republic of Congo 7 April 1973 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 7 April 1973[33]
 Cote d'Ivoire 6 October 1989 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 6 October 1989[34]
 Djibouti 24 July 1978 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 July 1978.[35]
 Egypt 3 September 1953 See Egypt–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 3 September 1953 when first Libyan Minister to Egypt Ibrahim El-Senoussi present his credentials to General Naguib.[36]

During the Libyan Civil War, it was rumoured that Egypt had sent Unit 777, a special forces division, to clandestinely aid Libyan revolutionaries on the eastern front. These reports were never confirmed, but established an early narrative that the post-revolutionary government of Egypt was seeking to aid a revolution in neighbouring Libya as part of a North African solidarity effort.[37]

Egypt supported the Arab League's readmission of Libya under the NTC in August 2011, officially recognising the NTC on the same day, 22 August, as the pan-Arab organisation, headed by former Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby, voted to do so.[38]

 Equatorial Guinea 11 February 2001 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 11 February 2001[39]
 Eritrea 5 February 1998 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 5 February 1998[40]
 Ethiopia 11 October 1975 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 11 October 1975 when first Libyan Ambassador to Ethiopia presented his credentials.[41]
 Gabon 1 November 1973 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 November 1973[42]
 Guinea 26 March 1968 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 26 March 1968[43]
 Guinea-Bissau 4 July 1974 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 4 July 1974 when was signed agreement to open an Embassy of Libya in the capital of Guinea Bissau.[44]
 Kenya 7 November 1978 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 7 November 1978[45]
 Liberia 1 April 1974 See Liberia–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 April 1974.[46]

 Madagascar 9 February 1974 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 February 1974.[47]
 Malawi 1998 Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1998.[48]
 Mali 17 November 1972 See Libya–Mali relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 November 1972 when the first Libyan Ambassador to Mali, Muhammad Ahmad Mograhi, presented his credentials to President Mousa Traore.[49]

In the aftermath of the Libyan civil war, Malian troops engaged in sporadic battles with Tuareg ex-mercenaries returning from fighting on Gaddafi's side.[50] Authorities in Mali recognised the danger as early as October 2011.[51]

After the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré said he accepted the NTC's authority and, together with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, expressed his hopes for "a rapid settlement of the crisis in this country, in line with the aspirations of the Libyan people".[52] In January 2012, Mali became the first African nation to agree to accept prisoners convicted by the International Criminal Court, which wants to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and several other former Libyan regime officials being held by ex-revolutionary groups in Libya.[53]

The unilaterally declared secession of Azawad from Mali, the military victory of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, Ansar Dine, and other rebel groups in the vast Malian north, and the coup against President Amadou Toumani Touré in 2012 were attributed in part to the outflow of weapons from Libya after the war, which purportedly increased instability in the Sahel.[54][55]

 Mauritania 9 January 1970 See Libya–Mauritania relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 January 1970[56]

 Mauritius 17 February 1976 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 February 1976.[57]
 Namibia 8 May 1990 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 8 May 1990.[58]
  • Libya has an embassy in Windhoek.
  • Namibia is accredited to Libya from its embassy in Algiers, Algeria.
 Niger 17 November 1965 See Libya–Niger relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 November 1965.[59]

Libyan relations with Niger since the formation of the National Transitional Council have been somewhat tenuous, though Niger recognised the NTC as Libya's legitimate governing authority on 27 August 2011.[60]

In early September 2011, a large convoy of Libyan military vehicles that the NTC said included stockpiles of gold bullion belonging to the Libyan treasury, as well as members of the Gaddafi government, crossed into Niger, allegedly with assistance from Nigerien Tuaregs. The NTC called on the Nigerien government to stop the convoy and arrest wanted members of the government, warning of consequences for Libya–Niger relations if it failed to do so.[61] However, after briefly denying the convoy's presence in Niger,[62] the Nigerien government later said it was considering granting refugee status to the Libyans, including military commanders Ali Kana and Mansour Dhao, both wanted by the NTC on charges of crimes against the Libyan people, as they were not sought by the International Criminal Court.[63] A similar scenario played out when Al-Saadi Gaddafi, one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons and a top military commander during the war, entered Niger and was placed under house arrest by the government[64] but was then granted refuge in the country, over the protests of the NTC and its allies. On 1 October, Nigerien Justice Minister Marou Amadou reiterated his government's refusal to extradite Al-Saadi Gaddafi, but said the NTC was welcome to interrogate him in Niamey, Niger's capital.[65] The Nigerien government has officially acknowledged receiving 32 wanted members of the government, but refuses to turn them over to the NTC on humanitarian grounds.[66] On 11 November, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou said his government officially decided to grant Al-Saadi Gaddafi asylum.[67]

After Saadi Gaddafi made comments calling for an uprising against the NTC in Libya, a spokesman for the Libyan interim authority said on 11 February 2012 that Tripoli demanded Niger extradite the Gaddafi son and other ex-regime officials to face trial in Libya. The Nigerien government must send the fugitives from justice back to their home country, the NTC spokesman warned, in order for Niger to "preserve its relationship and interests" in Libya. However, Nigerien government officials rejected the demand, citing the country's policy of not extraditing anyone who could face capital punishment.[68]

 Seychelles 15 August 1976 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 August 1976.[69]
 Sierra Leone 18 November 1975 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 18 November 1975.[70]
 Somalia 30 December 1967 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 December 1967.[71]
 South Africa 14 May 1994 See Libya–South Africa relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 14 May 1994.[72]

The relationship between Libya and South Africa was historically friendly prior to the civil war,[73][74] and the South African government maintained a policy of neutrality during the conflict by refusing to recognise the NTC until after the UN General Assembly voted to do so.[75] South Africa did, however, vote for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, though President Jacob Zuma later said he would have instructed the South African representative to vote against it if he had known that it would lead to a NATO-led bombing campaign.[76] South African officials met with representatives of both the NTC and the Gaddafi government during the war.[77] As an ostensibly neutral party, the South African government championed the African Union "roadmap" to peace,[75] designed in part by Zuma, a member of the AU Ad Hoc High Level Committee on Libya.[78] It ultimately recognised the NTC under considerable international pressure in September 2011, just a month before the war's end.[79] In early 2012, months after the collapse of Gaddafi's regime, Zuma complained to the United Nations Security Council that the crisis in Libya had "now grown to be a regional problem" as a result of the UN failing to work with the AU during the war.[80]

During the war, it was repeatedly rumoured that South Africa would offer Muammar Gaddafi and members of his family asylum, and during the Battle of Tripoli, some outlets reported that South African aircraft were on standby to whisk the Libyan leader and members of his government out of the country. The South African government denied these reports. It also denied allegations that surfaced the week after Tripoli fell claiming it was ready to facilitate Gaddafi's exile to Burkina Faso.[81] After Gaddafi was captured and killed in October 2011, the South African government issued a statement saying it hoped the fall of Sirte would bring about peace in Libya.[82]

 Tanzania 15 April 1975 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 April 1975[83]
 Togo 3 November 1973 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 3 November 1973.[84]
 Tunisia 22 June 1956 See Libya–Tunisia relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 22 June 1956 when Mr. Abdul Salam Bsaikri , the first Libyan Ambassador to Tunisia presented his credentials to the Bey of Tunis.[85]

During the civil war, Tunisia remained officially neutral. However, as a neighbouring state, it took in tens of thousands of Libyan refugees fleeing the conflict, setting up camps along the international border.[86][87] On 20 August 2011, the interim government of Tunisia recognised the NTC as Libya's legitimate authority.[88]

After the 2011 Tunisian elections, ad interim Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki vowed to build close relations with Libya's post-revolutionary government.[89] At a conference in Benghazi in late 2011, Libyan officials agreed to give Tunisia preferred status above all other nations in business and commerce. Marzouki's first official international trip as president was to Tripoli in early January 2012, where he met with Libyan leaders. Although the Financial Times reported on the state visit as a sign of deepening ties between the two countries, Libyan authorities reportedly complained to Marzouki's delegation over the presence of wanted ex-officials of the Gaddafi government in Tunisia, and Marzouki insisted the Libyans do more to secure the international border.[90]

 Uganda 13 February 1972 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 13 February 1972.[91]
 Zimbabwe June 1980 Both countries established diplomatic relations in June 1980.[92]

Americas[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Antigua and Barbuda 31 August 2007 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 31 August 2007.[93]
 Argentina 25 November 1973 See Argentina–Libya relations

Both Countries Established diplomatic Relations on 25 November 1973

 Bolivia 13 August 2008 See Bolivia–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 13 August 2008.[94]

 Brazil 9 April 1967 See Brazil–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 April 1967.[95]

 Canada 26 October 1968 See Canada–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 26 October 1968.[96]

 Chile 20 May 1971 See Chile–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 20 May 1971.[98]

  • Chile is accredited to Libya from its embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Libya has an embassy in Santiago.
 Colombia 16 May 1996 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 16 May 1996.[99]
 Cuba 1 March 1976 See Cuba–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 March 1976.[100]

 Dominica 10 January 2001 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 10 January 2001.[101][102]
 Dominican Republic 28 September 2007 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 28 September 2007.[103]
 Ecuador 1 September 1978 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 September 1978.[104]
 Grenada 24 July 2000 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 July 2000.[105]
 Guatemala 5 September 2007 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 5 September 2007.[106]
 Guyana 9 August 1972

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 August 1972.[107]

 Haiti 18 January 1979 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 18 January 1979.[108]
 Honduras 12 July 2007 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 12 July 2007.[109]
 Jamaica 24 June 1976 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 June 1976.[110]
 Mexico 6 August 1975 See Libya–Mexico relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 6 August 1975.[111]

 Nicaragua 10 March 1986 See Libya–Nicaragua relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 10 March 1986.[113]

 Paraguay 9 February 2011 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 February 2011.[114]
 Peru 28 April 1974 See Libya–Peru relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 28 April 1974.[115]

 Saint Lucia 30 October 2009 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 October 2009.[116]
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2 December 2005 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 2 December 2005.[117]
 Suriname 17 May 1976 See Libya–Suriname relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 May 1976

 United States 24 December 1951 See Libya–United States relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 December 1951.[118]

U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Transitional Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib, conduct a press conference in Tripoli, Libya on Dec. 17, 2011.

The United States was a major ally of the NTC during the war against Gaddafi, launching Operation Odyssey Dawn on 19 March 2011 after Susan Rice, its ambassador to the UN, successfully persuaded sceptics of the proposed Libyan no-fly zone on the United Nations Security Council to abstain from voting on the resolution rather than voting "no" or exercising veto power.[119] The United States Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy played an instrumental role in suppressing Libyan air defences in late March[120][121] before shifting toward a supporting role in Operation Unified Protector.[122]

The US took longer than other leading NTC allies to formally recognise the council as Libya's legitimate authority, but it ultimately handed over the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C., to the NTC in early August 2011.[123] Later that month, the US led an effort at the United Nations to repeal parts of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 in order to allow unfrozen Libyan assets to be transferred to the interim government.[124]

 Uruguay 4 October 1991 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 4 October 1991.[125]
 Venezuela 18 June 1965 See Libya–Venezuela relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 18 June 1965.[126]

Asia[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Afghanistan 1 August 1971 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 August 1971.[127]
 Armenia 19 June 2000

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 19 June 2000.[128]

 Azerbaijan 16 March 1992 See Azerbaijan–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 16 March 1992.[129]

 Bangladesh 14 December 1974 See Bangladesh–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 14 December 1974[130]

 China 9 August 1978 See China–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 August 1978.[131]

China initially did not support the Libyan uprising, instead urging Muammar Gaddafi's government to work quickly to "restore social stability and normalcy".[132] However, as the conflict dragged on, PRC officials began to meet with their NTC counterparts, inviting Mahmoud Jibril to Beijing in late June 2011 for bilateral talks.[133]

The PRC opposed the 2011 military intervention in Libya throughout the civil war, accusing the West of using force in an attempt to bring Libya into its sphere of influence and seeking to counter by gradually giving more diplomatic standing to the NTC,[134] culminating in full diplomatic recognition in mid-September 2011, which Beijing's state news agency Xinhua defended as "a mature decision made at the right time".[135] Both governments expressed desire for Chinese participation in rebuilding the country and resuming suspended construction projects.[136][137] However, relations between the NTC and the PRC were shaken by reports that state-controlled weapons manufacturers in Mainland China met with a high-level delegation from the Gaddafi government in July 2011 in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970.[138] The PRC claimed ignorance of the meeting, which several NTC officials openly questioned.[139]

 India 20 July 1952 See India–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 20 July 1952.[140]

 Indonesia 17 October 1991 See Indonesia–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 October 1991.[141]

On 3 September 2011, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said his government supported the NTC "in carrying out the peaceful transition towards democracy".[142][143] However, he stopped short of expressing Indonesian recognition of the NTC as the country's legitimate authority, and at the United Nations General Assembly vote on accrediting the representative of Libya designated by the council on 16 September, Indonesia abstained.[144]

Indonesian energy firm MedcoEnergi reopened its Tripoli office in mid-September 2011 and said later in the month that it would resume oil exploration and production in the Area-47 block of the Libyan oilfields in October 2011.[145] Medco President-Director Lukman Mahfoedz said that under the terms of a new contract between Libya's provisional government and the company, Tripoli would subsidise half the cost of Medco's operations in the Ghadames Basin, while the remaining 50 percent of costs would be split between Medco and the Libyan Investment Authority, one of the corporation's largest shareholders.[146]

 Iran 30 December 1967 See Iran–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 December 1967.[147]

 Iraq 21 May 1955 See Iraq–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 21 May 1955 when Mr. Abdul Munim Gailani, Envoy Extraordinary and minister Plenipotentiary of Iraq to Libya presented his letters of credence.[148]

 Israel See Israel–Libya relations

Israeli minister Ayoob Kara conducted informal relations with the Gaddafi regime, using the Freedom Party of Austria as an intermediary. During the negotiations, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi pledged to assist in securing the release of Gilad Shalit from Hamas, sign a peace treaty with Israel and personally visit Israel in return for Israel lobbying NATO to cease airstrikes on Libya. However, talks ended when rebel forces took control of Tripoli.[149]

Democratic Party of Libya figure Ahmad Shabani said on 23 August that the Libyan opposition wanted the support of the international community, including Israel, despite the state's current lack of diplomatic relations with Libya. When asked if a democratically elected Libyan government would recognise Israel, Shabani responded, "The question is whether Israel will recognize us." He said his party supports a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.[150] The DPL is not an official organ of the NTC, but it supports the council's transitional role.

On 16 September 2011, Israel voted in the United Nations General Assembly to accredit the NTC as Libya's legal representative.[144]

 Japan 1957 See Japan–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1957

 Jordan 30 August 1961 See Jordan–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 August 1961[151]

 Kazakhstan 13 March 1992 See Kazakhstan–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 13 March 1992[152]

 Kuwait 24 December 1961 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 December 1961.[153]
 Kyrgyzstan 25 February 1993 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 25 February 1993[154]
 Laos 26 July 1976 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 26 July 1976[155]
 Maldives 17 November 1975 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 November 1975[156]
 Mongolia 16 June 1976 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 16 June 1976[157]
   Nepal 30 December 1975 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 December 1975[158]
 North Korea 23 January 1974 See Libya–North Korea relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 23 January 1974.[159]

  • Libya is accredited to North Korea from its embassy in Seoul, South Korea.
  • North Korea has an embassy in Tripoli
 Pakistan 16 July 1952 See Libya–Pakistan relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 16 July 1952.[160]

 Philippines 17 November 1976 See Libya–Philippines relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 November 1976.[161]

  • Libya has an embassy in Manila.
  • Philippines has an embassy in Tripoli
 Qatar 19 November 1975 See Libya–Qatar relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 19 November 1975[162]

Qatar was the second country to recognise the NTC and the first to announce a trade agreement with it, declaring on 27 March 2011 that it would market Libyan oil exports from eastern terminals controlled by anti-Gaddafi elements.[163] It was also the first Arab country to join international military operations in Libya, sending interceptors to help enforce the no-fly zone starting on 25 March.[164] The Qatari government is also closely tied to Al Jazeera, one of the first international news networks to begin covering the 2011 civil war.[165]

The NTC faced one of its first diplomatic quandaries after Iman al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman who accused Gaddafi-loyal militiamen of beating and gang-raping her at a checkpoint in a high-profile appearance before journalists at the Rixos Al Nasr in Tripoli, was granted asylum in Qatar. Despite the protests of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Qatar then forcibly deported Obeidi back to Benghazi on 2 June 2011 for unknown reasons,[166] and Obeidi publicly blamed the NTC for her deportation.[167] Despite this incident, Qatari cooperation with the NTC remained close throughout the war, with close consultations between officials of the two governments in Doha becoming so frequent that some anti-Gaddafi fighters complained that their leadership was spending too much time in Qatar and not enough time in Libya.[168] Qatari military advisers also reportedly accompanied some anti-Gaddafi brigades in the Nafusa Mountains[169] and during the coastal offensive in Tripolitania, even helping to direct some fighters in the storming of Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizia compound in central Tripoli.[170]

On 16 October 2011, the Qatari and Libyan governments signed a memorandum of understanding in Doha for cooperation between the justice ministries of the two states. Officials said the fledgling government of Libya could benefit from Qatar's experience in establishing justice, law and order.[171]

 Singapore 3 March 2006 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 3 March 2006.[172]
 South Korea 29 December 1980 See Libya–South Korea relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 29 December 1980.[173]

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Korea and Libya in December 1980 and in (January 2015) Number of South Koreans living in Libya: 48.[174]

 Syria See Libya–Syria relations

President Bashar al-Assad, the Ba'athist Syrian head of state, responded to the Syrian civil war in a manner frequently compared by protesters to Muammar Gaddafi's crackdown in February 2011 and beyond.[175] Syria voted at the United Nations General Assembly to accredit the NTC as representative of Libya on 16 September 2011.[144] However, Assad's government has allowed Al-Rai TV, a Syrian station, to broadcast pro-Gaddafi propaganda since the leader's fall from power, including audio messages from Gaddafi, members of his family, and former Information Minister Moussa Ibrahim.[176]

On 10 October 2011, Libya became the first country to recognise the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of opposition leaders within and outside Syria formed as an alternative to the government in Damascus, as "the sole legitimate government in Syria", according to NTC official Mussa al-Koni, who serves as a representative of the Tuareg of Libya. Koni said the NTC also ordered the Syrian Embassy in Tripoli to be shuttered until further notice.[177] NTC also promised the representatives of SNC to hand them over the embassy of Syria in Tripoli.[178]

 Tajikistan 27 April 1998 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 27 April 1998.[179]
 Thailand 16 March 1977 See Libya–Thailand relations
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on 16 March 1977.[180]
  • Libya has an embassy in Bangkok.
  • Thailand is accredited to Libya through its embassy in Rome, Italy.[181]
 Turkey 30 December 1952 See Libya–Turkey relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 December 1952.[182]

  • Libya has an embassy in Ankara and a Consulate General in Istanbul.
  • Turkey has an embassy in Tripoli[183] and a Consulate General in Misurata.[184]
  • Trade volume between the two countries was 1.865 billion USD in 2018 (Libyan exports/imports: 0.37/1.50 billion USD).[185]
  • 188,312 Libyan tourists visited Turkey in 2018.[185]

Turkey was a prominent backer of the Libyan opposition during the civil war, although it was initially strongly opposed to the international military intervention[186] and expressed concern about the violence.[187] However, Turkey became a strong advocate for a leading NATO role in Libya by the end of March and joined in operations to enforce an embargo on Gaddafi-held ports.[186]

With Turkey's reversal on the international military mission, as well as its decision to recognise the NTC in early July 2011,[188] it gained considerably more influence with the ultimately victorious rebels. It also provided $300 million in aid to the NTC prior to the start of Ramadan,[189] as well several fuel shipments via the Turkish Petroleum International Company.[190] Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited Benghazi in late August, just as Tripoli was being taken by anti-Gaddafi forces.[191] When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Tripoli the following month, he received a rock star welcome from gratified Libyans.[189] The Turkish Air Force also worked with the NTC to airdrop humanitarian aid to Waddan, and the Libyan South near Qatrun in mid-September 2011, delivering at least 14 tons of food to the areas selected by Libyan and Turkish officials.[192]

In January 2020, Turkey deployed approximately 2,000 Syrian fighters, including from the Syrian National Army, to Libya in support of Fayez al-Sarraj.[193]

 Turkmenistan 8 December 1992 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 8 December 1992[194]
 United Arab Emirates 24 May 1972 See Libya–United Arab Emirates relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 May 1972.[195]

The UAE maintains a forward operating base at the Al-Khadim Airport, near Marj.[196][197]

 Uzbekistan 27 October 2010 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 27 October 2010.[198]
 Vietnam 15 March 1975 See Libya–Vietnam relations
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 March 1975.[199]
  • Libya has an embassy in Hanoi.
  • Vietnam is accredited to Libya from its embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
 Yemen 22 August 1960 See Libya–Yemen relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 22 August 1960[200]

Europe[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Albania 6 May 1970 See Albania–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 6 May 1970[201]

 Belarus 30 August 1996 See Belarus–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 August 1996.[202]

 Belgium 15 May 1956 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 May 1956.[203]
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 28 October 1992 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 28 October 1992.[204]
 Bulgaria 1 July 1963 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 July 1963[205]
 Croatia 30 March 2000 See Croatia–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 30 March 2000.[206]

 Cyprus 8 November 1973 See Cyprus–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 8 November 1973.[207] Relations between Cyprus and Libya have always remained strong especially due to the relations of the President of the Cyprus House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou with Libyan politicians. Libya was a key investor to Cyprus after the invasion of the island by Turkey and was a source of jobs for Cypriots working under the Cypriot multinational company Joannou & Paraskevaides. The latest state visit between the two countries was of Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis to Tripoli in 2011 after the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime.

 Czech Republic 16 May 1960 See Czech Republic–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 16 May 1960.[208]

Relations between Libya and the Czech Republic was relatively slow, among European Union member states, to establish full diplomatic relations with the NTC. Meetings between Czech and Libyan officials of the NTC began in mid-June 2011,[209] and by the end of the month, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg was quoted as saying, while visiting Benghazi to deliver a shipment of medical supplies, that the Czech Republic recognised the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.[210] However, Schwarzenberg later clarified that he had not expressed his government's recognition of the NTC as a legitimate government, a position he maintained until the end of the Battle of Tripoli.[211][212]

On 21 September 2011, the Czech Republic joined the Friends of Libya Conference, a group of countries and international organisations committed to helping rebuild a democratic, internationalist Libya.[213]

 Estonia 17 December 2008 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 December 2008.[214]
 Finland 28 September 1965 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 28 September 1965.[215]
 France 1 January 1952 See France–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 January 1952.[216]

France was the first country to recognise the NTC as Libya's sole legitimate representative, doing so on 10 March 2011.[217] Just over a week later, France co-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, and the French Air Force was the first military coalition component to engage Gaddafi-loyal forces on the ground in Libya, intervening to turn the tide at the Second Battle of Benghazi on 19 March by destroying advancing columns of Libyan Army tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and artillery pieces.[218]

In late August 2011, France unblocked 20 percent of frozen Libyan assets held in the country.[219] President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Tripoli on 15 September, becoming (together with British Prime Minister David Cameron) one of the first world leaders to make a state visit to Libya since the conquest of the capital.[220]

 Germany 3 June 1955 See Germany–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 3 June 1955.[221]

 Greece See Greece–Libya relations

Diplomatic relations between Greece and Libya date back to 1952, when Libya's independence was formally recognized by the United Nations. Relations between the two countries had been traditionally friendly, especially during the 1980s and 1990s, when the personal friendship between Muammar Gaddafi and Greek socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou contributed to close ties between the two countries. Greece provided continued military training in its military academies to future Libyan career officers, well into the early 2000s.

Due to the Libyan Civil War, in 2014 Greece closed its embassy in Tripoli, while Libya continued to be represented in Greece through its embassy in Athens. The signing in 2019 of the Libya (GNA)–Turkey maritime deal fuelled Greece’s strong reaction and condemnation,[222] also followed by concerns raised for its legality by other countries in the region,[223][224][225] the international community and political powers within Libya itself, including the rival Tobruk-based government led by Libya's Parliament (House of Representatives) and the Libyan National Army. Greece regarded it as "void" and "geographically absurd", because it ignored the presence of the Greek islands of Crete, Kasos, Karpathos, Kastellorizo and Rhodes between the Turkish–Libyan coasts. This subsequently led to the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador from Greece[226] and deterioration of relations between Greece and the GNA.

Following political change at the head of Government in Libya in 2021, and in an effort to stabilise relations and increase Greece’s diplomatic presence in the country, the reopening of the Greek Embassy in Tripoli and a new Consulate General in Benghazi were announced by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[227]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Greece donated 200,000 vaccines to Libya.[228]

 Hungary 2 July 1967 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 2 July 1967.[229]
 Iceland 15 March 2004 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 March 2004.[230]
 Ireland 2 July 1977 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 2 July 1977[231]
 Italy 21 February 1952 See Italy–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 21 February 1952 when has been accredited first Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Italy to Libya Mr. Mario Conti.[232]

Libya's largest international trade partner, Rome's decision to reject Gaddafi as a negotiating party and recognise the NTC in early April 2011 was seen as a major diplomatic coup for NTC envoy Mahmoud Jibril.[233] Although Italy joined international military efforts to weaken Gaddafi's grip on the country, granting the use of military bases in Italian territory and participating in Operation Unified Protector, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" in June 2011 to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid, a suggestion that NATO ignored.[234]

In late August 2011, Frattini vowed that Italian oil company Eni would "play a number one role in the future" in Libya and resume oil production as soon as Libya's oilfields reopened for business.[234] Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also announced the release of $505 million in frozen Libyan assets as a "first payment" to Libya's new government as its forces battled to secure Tripoli.[235] Abdulrahman Ben Yezza, a former Eni executive, was named oil minister in the caretaker government of Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib on 22 November.[236]

 Kosovo 14 May 2014 See Kosovo–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 14 May 2014.[237]

Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008. Libya under Gaddafi was opposed to Kosovo's independence and refused to recognise Kosovo as independent.[238][239] However, after the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya officially recognised Kosovo as an independent state on 25 September 2013.[240][241]

 Latvia 16 February 2007 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 16 February 2007.[242]
 Lithuania 11 June 2008 See Libya–Lithuania relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 11 June 2008.[243]

 Malta 15 June 1965 See Libya–Malta relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 June 1965.[244]

On 21 February 2011, days before the establishment of the NTC in Benghazi, two Libyan Air Force fighter jets defected to Malta rather than bomb the restive eastern cities. The Maltese government's refusal to extradite the pilots or return the aircraft to Libya swiftly established the island state as an unfriendly neighbour of the Gaddafi government amidst the Libyan uprising.[245]

After the fall of Tripoli to anti-Gaddafi forces in late August 2011, Maltese Foreign Affairs Minister Tonio Borg announced on 10 September that Malta would become the first EU country to reopen its embassy in the Libyan capital.[246] The following day, Libyan Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni commissioned an investigation into companies with joint Libyan and Maltese shareholding, with the intent of locating businessmen both in Libya and in Malta who had assisted the Gaddafi government during the war, such as by facilitating the importation of oil to Gaddafi-loyal ports in defiance of the UN embargo. A spokesman for Tarhouni's office said that "all honest businessmen have no need to worry" and indicated the probe was not a critique of the Maltese government.[247]

 Moldova 9 December 1994 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 December 1994.[248]
 Montenegro 9 February 2011 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 9 February 2011.[249]
 Northern Cyprus

Despite the fact that Libya has not officially recognised the Northern Cyprus, on 30 October 2011, Libyan Health Minister Abdal Rahman Ali al-Kissa signed a protocol with his Northern Cypriot counterpart to reserve 250 beds at the Near East University hospital in northern North Nicosia for the treatment of injured Libyans. He also met with TRNC Prime Minister İrsen Küçük.[250]

 North Macedonia 14 April 1995 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 14 April 1995.[251]
 Norway 20 July 1966 See Libya–Norway relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 20 July 1966.[252]

 Poland 2 December 1963 See Libya–Poland relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 2 December 1963.[253]

Poland at the mid 2000s like the rest of West countries started to turn its eyes back on Libya after almost 20 years of absence.[254] At the beginning of the civil war, the Polish government was not eager to participate in any military action in Libya, but called the other members of NATO and European Union to use other ways, but prime minister Donald Tusk assured that Poland would take part in some "community activities."[255] At the same time, Polish NGOs started the preparations to help eastern Libya.[256] The position of government concern Libya has not changed with the beginning of Military intervention in Libya.[257]

The diplomatic relations with NTC were established during the visit of Polish FM Radosław Sikorski to Benghazi on 11 May, when he announced the recognition of the NTC as "rightful interlocutor for the international community (...) in Libya"[258] Poland was the only country that opened its embassy in Benghazi.[259] On 8 July, the Minister noticed the Polish recognition of NTC as the "legitimate government of the Libyan people".[260] Poland was also member of Libya Contact Group, where it offered to launch humanitarian help and training for state officials and new law and order services.[261] There are unofficial reports that Poland was sending weapons and officers of Polish Special Forces.[262][263][264] Ahmed El-Mallul, a Libyan surgeon in Poland, was a mediator between the NTC and the Polish government.[265] On 15 September Poland reopened its embassy in Tripoli[266] and started to prepare ground for humanitarian help, which arrived on 3 October in Misrata[267][268] Also Libyan representatives were in Poland at the parliamentary elections on 6–11 October 2011.[269][270] Next visit of foreign minister took place on 24 October in Tripoli.[271] Three days later Libyan decedents decided to strengthen bilateral relations and notify Polish MFA about upgrading its Economic Cooperation Bureau in Warsaw to the rank of Embassy and establish a joint Libyan-Polish commission headed by its Ministers of Foreign Affairs.[272]

 Portugal See Libya–Portugal relations
 Romania 14 February 1974 See Libya–Romania relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 14 February 1974.[273]

 Russia 4 September 1955 See Libya–Russia relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 4 September 1955.[274]

Russia sharply criticised the NATO-led military intervention in the Libyan civil war, though it chose not to use its veto power on the United Nations Security Council to block it. On 27 May 2011, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said that although Moscow opposed the military operations, it believed Gaddafi should leave power.[275]

In early June 2011, Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov was received in Benghazi, the de facto headquarters of the Libyan opposition. Margelov's stated objective was to broker a truce between anti-Gaddafi forces and the Gaddafi-led government.[276] He left Benghazi with an invitation from the NTC for Russia to open a representative office in the city,[citation needed] though it opted not to do so before recognising the council as Libya's sole legitimate representative, which it did on 1 September 2011.[277]

 San Marino 20 October 1999 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 20 October 1999.[278]
 Serbia 2 October 1955 See Libya–Serbia relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 2 October 1955.[279]

 Slovakia 1 January 1993 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 January 1993.[280]
 Slovenia 19 September 2007 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 19 September 2007.[281]
 Ukraine 17 March 1992 See Libya–Ukraine relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 17 March 1992.[282]

 United Kingdom 24 December 1951 See Libya–United Kingdom relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 24 December 1951.[283]

The United Kingdom co-sponsored UNSCR 1973 and was one of the largest contributors to Operation Unified Protector, the NATO-led intervention to degrade the military strength of Muammar Gaddafi's forces, though it carried out considerably fewer strike missions than fellow coalition partners France and the United States.[284]

In early September 2011, the Royal Air Force flew crateloads of unfrozen Libyan funds in the form of dinar banknotes to Benghazi, the location of the NTC's interim central bank.[285] On 15 September, Prime Minister David Cameron visited Tripoli together with French President Sarkozy to meet with leaders of the NTC.[220]

Oceania[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Australia 4 January 1978 See Australia–Libya relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 4 January 1978.[286]

Australia was a major non-military backer of the revolutionaries during the Libyan Civil War, sending more humanitarian aid to Libya than any other single country after the United States.[287][288] It was relatively early to recognise the NTC, doing so on 9 June 2011, months before the capture of Tripoli.[289][290]

In December 2011, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd traveled to Libya to meet with Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib. Rudd ceremonially hoisted the flag of Australia at his country's consul-general in Tripoli and pledged Canberra's support for efforts to remove unexploded landmines in Libya, as well as advice on Libya's planned transition to democratic governance.[291]

 New Zealand 4 May 1983 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 4 May 1983[292]
 Tonga 2 March 1979 Both countries established diplomatic relations on 2 March 1979[293]
 Vanuatu 29 May 1986 See Libya–Vanuatu relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 29 May 1986[294]

International response[edit]

  Libya
  Countries that have recognised the National Transitional Council as the sole legitimate representative of Libya
  Countries with informal relations with the NTC, or which voted in favour of it assuming Libya's UN seat, but have not established formal recognition
  Countries which opposed the NTC assuming Libya's UN seat, yet have not made a formal statement on recognition
  Countries which have formally opposed the NTC

During the Libyan Civil War, at least 100 countries and numerous international organisations, including the United Nations, expressly recognised the NTC as Libya's legitimate authority or used similar language. Several other countries have recognised the NTC as the interim government of Libya since the war's end.

Membership in intergovernmental organisations[edit]

Libya was suspended from Arab League proceedings in late February 2011 over the bombardment of civilians by Gaddafi's forces during widespread protests against his government.[295] In early June, Vice Chairman Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, a frequent spokesman for the council, emphasised his government's intention to reintegrate Libya into the Arab world.[296] It was reinstated on 27 August with the NTC as its representative.[297]

The African Union's Peace and Security Council decided on 26 August 2011 to call for a national unity government including the remnants of the Gaddafi government as well as members of the NTC instead of transferring its diplomatic recognition to the NTC as Libya's legal representative.[298] After Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil pledged the council's commitment to protecting human rights, shepherding Libya through the process of postwar reconciliation, and transitioning to full democracy at a Libya Contact Group conference in Paris on 1 September, a spokesman for the African Union Commission said the commission was "reassured" and would bring the issue of recognition up for discussion again.[299] Relations between the AU and the NTC have been strained by persistent reports of hate crimes, including arbitrary detentions and lynchings, being perpetrated against black people in Tawergha, Tripoli, and other places in Libya.[300][301][302] On 20 September 2011, the African Union officially recognised the National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of Libya.[303]

The NTC asked to take up Libya's seat at the United Nations.[304] The UN was also a member of the Libya Contact Group. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN's nominal leader, said on 1 September that the UN would work with "Libyan authority" to help Libya transition toward democracy. Ban also backed a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution to codify the international body's role in supporting Libyan democracy and stability.[305] Although the NTC welcomed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorised the NATO-led bombing of Libyan military targets, it has rejected proposals for a United Nations peacekeeping contingent in postwar Libya, saying it wants no foreign troops deployed on Libyan soil.[306] The United Nations General Assembly, with 114 member states in favor to 17 opposed, voted on 16 September 2011 to recognise the NTC as holding Libya's seat at the United Nations.[144][307]

NTC appointed representatives during the civil war[edit]

The National Transitional Council had opened representative missions abroad during the civil war. Several countries had recognised the council as the sole "governing authority" in Libya and some of these countries invited the council to appoint diplomatic envoys and to take over Libyan embassies in their capitals. A number of embassies and diplomatic offices in other countries have declared allegiance to the council unilaterally, but it is unclear whether they are in communication with it.

Representative missions of the NTC during the civil war:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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