Kubis Stresses Importance of Holding Libyan Elections

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On Thursday, the UN Special Envoy to Libya, Jan Kubis stressed the importance of holding free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya on 24 December, to avoid a return to conflict, violence, and chaos.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Libya, Kubis said, “While all my interlocutors reiterated their commitment to holding elections on 24 December, I am afraid many of them are not ready to walk the talk. I reminded them of the overwhelming demand and expectations of the Libyan people and of the international community to hold the elections on time, in order to complete Libya’s democratic transition.”

He also called on the members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) to put aside their differences and adopt a constitutional basis, which is necessary for holding the elections on time.
He added that he urged Parliament Speaker, Ageela Saleh to consult with the High Council of State (HCS) in line with the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and to ensure that the legal and constitutional bases are in place for holding the elections, as per UNSCR 2570, the Berlin-II Conference conclusions, and the LPDF roadmap.

Kubis also voiced his deep concern about the wider ramifications of the stalemate in the political track, and related splits that are the result of the standoff between key state institutions. This is primarily between the Government of National Unity (GNU) and the Libyan Parliament, the GNU and the Libyan National Army (LNA), the Parliament and the HCS, and between those who want to hold the elections as scheduled, and those who would like to see the elections delayed.

“If the impasse over the constitutional basis and the ongoing standoff between state institutions are not quickly resolved, and if the key leaders of the country will not show political will to reach a solution and a compromise, this could reverse the positive momentum seen just a few months ago,” he noted.

Kubis stated that the Presidential Council and the GNU have not been able to agree on the appointment of the Minister of Defence, which is hindering the unification of the military institution, adding that the continued presence of mercenaries threatens the fragile ceasefire agreement.

He also expressed his concern that although the ceasefire agreement continues to hold notwithstanding minor clashes between armed groups and criminal gangs, the unity of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) and implementation of the agreement could unravel if the political process continues to stall.

“The United Nations will continue to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement in Libya. In line with Security Council resolution 2570, preparations are ongoing for the deployment of UNSMIL ceasefire monitoring component in support of the Libyan-led, Libyan-owned ceasefire monitoring mechanism,” Kubis noted.

He pointed out that the ceasefire is still in force, but the lack of political progress may result in its collapse, and the disruption of the unification of the military institution opens the way for extremist groups to increase their activities in Libya.

Regarding the conditions of migrants in Libya, Kubis reiterated that Libya is not a safe harbour for refugees and migrants, highlighting the huge increase in the number of migrants detained in the country this year.

Finally, he urged the Government to swiftly approve the resumption of UNHCR and IOM facilitated humanitarian evacuation, voluntary resettlement, and return flights and departures of migrants and refugees from Libya. Some 6,000 people have so far registered for such departures which have been blocked for several months.