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Libya: political stalemate and lack of progress for the elections

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Libya’s leaders must take immediate action to resolve their political stalemate, which is spiraling into escalating violence, UN political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council on Tuesday.

The North African country was split between two rival administrations in the years following the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi a decade ago. The Government of National Accord (GNA) is based in the capital, Tripoli, located to the west, while the Libyan National Army (LNA) is to the east.

Despite relative calm in recent years, tensions have simmered following the failure to hold long-awaited elections last December and the refusal of incumbent Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah to step down.

His rival Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed prime minister by the eastern parliament, tried to enter Tripoli.

Ms. DiCarlo expressed deep concern that the current impasse and continued delays in the implementation of the electoral process pose a growing threat to security in and around Tripoli, and potentially to all Libyans.

“Theatre of violent clashes”

“This threat materialized only a few days ago, when Tripoli was again the scene of violent clashes between armed groups supporting Mr. Dbeibah and Mr. Bashaga respectively,” she told the ambassadors. .

The violence erupted on August 27, leaving at least 42 dead, including four civilians, and nearly 160 injured, according to Libyan authorities. About 50 families were reportedly displaced, while five health centers and two detention centers for migrants were damaged.

While the fighting died down the following day, an uneasy calm reigns but it is unclear how long it will last.

“In light of the deteriorating political and security climate in Tripoli, the United Nations must continue to provide and strengthen good offices and mediation to help the Libyan actors resolve the current impasse and seek a consensual path towards the elections,” she said.

“I urge everyone to support the Secretary-General’s efforts to help Libyans chart a path to peace.”

Ms DiCarlo also expressed concern about the limited political progress towards elections, which the UN sees as the only way out of the current stalemate.

No progress

“Despite our continued efforts, no progress has been made in forging consensus on a constitutional framework for the elections,” she said. “It is essential that an agreement is reached on a constitutional framework and a timetable for elections that will allow the Libyan people to choose their leaders.”

The UN political affairs chief highlighted some positive developments, such as the ongoing efforts of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) to preserve and strengthen the implementation of the ceasefire agreement .

The JMC brings together five military representatives from each side.

“It should be noted that on August 27, the eastern delegation to the JMC called their western counterparts to reassure them that the Libyan National Army would not be involved in the fighting,” said she reported.

Earlier this month, the JMC also met with the United Nations Mission in the country, UNSMIL, to improve the preparedness of the Libyan Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism. They also finalized the modalities for the withdrawal of foreign forces, foreign fighters and mercenaries from the territory.

The oil is flowing again

Regarding economic developments, Ms. DiCarlo said that oil production resumed in July, after a shutdown of nearly three months. Production had reached pre-shutdown levels of 1.2 million barrels per day by the end of this month, with plans for a further increase.

However, she feared the oil fields could close again due to growing public discontent in the south over the lack of basic services and poor living conditions.

“Libya’s natural resources belong to all Libyans, and revenues from oil exports must be distributed fairly and equitably,” she said.

Smear campaigns and hate speech

In the meantime, the human rights situation in the country continues to be of concern.

Last week, armed groups affiliated with the Libyan National Army, one of the rival government structures, surrounded the town of Qasr Bouhadi. Although these “military actors” have since withdrawn, they continue to control the movements there.

Ms DiCarlo called for the immediate lifting of restrictions on the population, warning that the situation could escalate.

She reported other violations, including against people exercising their right to freedom of expression, migrants and refugees, and women activists.

“Smear campaigns targeting civil society actors, especially women, consisting of hate speech and incitement to violence, are deeply concerning and must stop,” she said.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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