Abdul Ati al-Obeidi: Former Libyan Prime Minister dead at 83

Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, a prominent figure in Libyan politics and international diplomacy, has left this world at the age of 83. His life’s journey, marked by significant contributions to his nation and the global stage, came to an end on September 16, 2023, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations.

Born on October 10, 1939, Abdul Ati al-Obeidi’s career was intertwined with Libya’s political landscape during the era of Muammar Gaddafi. He held various distinguished positions, serving as Prime Minister from 1977 to 1979 and later as the General Secretary of the General People’s Congress from 1979 to 1981. However, his most defining role came as one of the three main negotiators who played a pivotal part in Libya’s historic decision to renounce and dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

The year 2011 ushered in a turbulent period in Abdul Ati al-Obeidi’s life. Against the backdrop of the First Libyan Civil War, a conflict that pitted Gaddafi loyalists against Anti-Gaddafi rebels, he was appointed Foreign Minister following the defection of Moussa Koussa, a key figure in Gaddafi’s government. Notably, al-Obeidi had accompanied Koussa to Djerba, Tunisia, but he made the fateful choice to return to Libya while Koussa defected to London. Just a week after Koussa’s departure, on April 3, 2011, Obeidi embarked on a journey to Greece, where he presented a peace proposal to his Greek counterpart, Dimitrios Droutsas, in a tireless effort to seek a diplomatic solution to the ongoing conflict.

However, the political landscape in Libya continued to evolve rapidly. On August 31, 2011, Abdul Ati al-Obeidi was detained by rebel forces west of Tripoli, a development that underscored the complexity and volatility of the situation during that period.

In June 2013, he faced legal proceedings, yet emerged unscathed as a court found him not guilty of a charge of mismanagement, a testament to his unwavering commitment to justice and accountability.

The world was shocked to learn of Abdul Ati al-Obeidi’s passing, which occurred on September 16, 2023, due to a heart attack. His death marks the end of an era in Libyan politics and diplomacy, leaving behind a void that will be challenging to fill.