UN Secretary-General Warns of Political Stalemate in Libya

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres,
The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres,

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, revealed that the current political stalemate in Libya will thwart the aspirations of the Libyans and their right to choose their representatives through free, fair, and inclusive elections.

In his periodic report to the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya, Guterres said, “The Libyan people, who had registered their votes in large numbers to participate in the December 2021 elections, have the right to live in peace, choose their leaders through ballot boxes.”

The Secretary-General welcomed the efforts of the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) to improve transparency and accountability in the use of state funds by submitting regular reports.

Guterres called on all Libyan parties to cooperate with the high-level committee for the elections proposed by the UN Special Envoy, Abdoullaye Bathily, in order to finalize the preparations for the elections.

He also commended the progress made by the 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) in implementing the initial framework for unifying the country’s army.

Guterres welcomed the formation of liaison committees affiliated to the JMC of Chad, Sudan, Niger, and the African Union (AU), calling at the same time the need for the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries to mitigate the impact on the Sahel countries.

The UN Secretary-General stressed the need for a national reconciliation that focuses on victims and is based on rights to address the internal division. He pointed out that no way can lead to sustainable peace other than a transparent and inclusive transitional justice process for all Libyans.

He also called for working to manage the country’s wealth and resources in an accountable, fair, transparent, and effective manner, and to ensure proper supervision over them.

In addition, Guterres urged the security authorities in Libya to end the campaign of intimidation against civil society actors who exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

He called for ensuring meaningful participation of women, youth, ethnic minorities, and other vulnerable groups, stressing that the UN will continue to support the Libyan partners and the AU in this regard.

Libya has been chaotic since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi in 2011. The county has for years been split between rival administrations, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

The current stalemate grew out of the failure to hold elections in December 2021, and the refusal of Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbaiba, who is leading the transitional government, to step down. In response, the country’s eastern-based Parliament appointed a rival Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha, who has for months sought to install his government in Tripoli.