One year ago this week, an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya tragically claimed the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Ambassador Stevens was widely respected as a champion of serious US commitment to Libya and broad engagement with its people. In the year since his death, however, the United States has had limited engagement with the North African country during a critical stage of its transition.
A number of foreign policy experts, former US ambassadors, and academics, including Anne-Marie Slaughter of the New American Foundation, Ambassador Charles Cecil, and Ellen Lust of Yale University, are now calling for increased engagement by the United States and have outlined an effective strategy for both the short and long term. With Ambassador Deborah Jones now at the helm of the US Embassy in Tripoli, they are calling on the US administration to take the following steps:
- Support the recently announced National Dialogue initiative to ensure that it empowers a diverse array of voices—not only political elites—and incorporates extensive outreach to each region.
- Pledge support and expertise for the constitution writing process.
- Expand cooperation and funding to address justice and security sector reform.
- Increase diplomatic engagement and public advocacy.
- Encourage the Libyan Government to resolve contract disputes and sign OPIC and Ex-Im agreements.
The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East together with the Project on Middle East Democracy and Freedom House lead the Libya Working Group, which convenes regular roundtables with experts to discuss a range of political, security, and economic issues in post-Qaddafi Libya.