UNITED NATIONS (TBEN) – The new UN special envoy to Libya said on Monday that he plans to honor pledges made by the country’s political rivals at the end of a meeting last week that reportedly included the need to to hold presidential and parliamentary elections and to ensure that the divided North African country has one executive branch as soon as possible.
Abdoulaye Bathily told the UN Security Council he plans to meet with leaders of the eastern parliament, the House of Representatives and the western Supreme Council of State in the capital Tripoli in the coming weeks to discuss the agreements announced at the congress. , to understand”. end of their meeting on 21 October in the Moroccan capital Rabat.
According to the Moroccan news agency and The North African Post, the Speaker of the East-based parliament, Aguila Saleh, and the head of the Supreme Court, Khaled al-Meshri, have agreed to introduce a mechanism based on criteria for leadership positions agreed on talks in Morocco in October 2020.
Saleh said the rivals also agreed “to ensure that there is a single executive branch in Libya as soon as possible” and to relaunch dialogue to reach an agreement on holding presidential and parliamentary elections . The elections must respect “a clear roadmap and legislation, on the basis of which the polls will be conducted,” he said at a press conference after the meeting.
Russia’s deputy UN Ambassador to Russia Dmitry Polyansky referred to talks with Morocco in his statement to the Security Council, pointing to “tangible progress on the political track” at the October 21 meeting. He said Saleh and Meshri ” agreed to complete by early 2023 efforts to unify executive structures and allocate leadership positions therein.”
The UN’s Bathily, a former Senegalese minister and diplomat, said his goal is to get the rival leaders “to agree on political, constitutional, legal and security measures to move forward as quickly as possible with election preparations in accordance with the ambitions clearly expressed by the Libyan people.”
Libya plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 overthrew and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The oil-rich North African county has been split for years between rival governments to the east and west, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.
The country’s current political crisis stems from the lack of elections in December 2021 and the refusal of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who led a transitional government, to step down. In response, the country’s eastern parliament appointed a rival prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, who has been trying to install his government in Tripoli for months.
Bathily told the Security Council that “the political deadlock continues with no clear end in sight to the protracted deadlock over the executive branch.”
In addition, the efforts to resolve the remaining outstanding issues related to the constitutional basis for elections do not appear to lead to concrete action by the relevant actors, reducing the prospects for holding inclusive, free and fair elections aimed at ending the transition and restoring the legitimacy of institutions.”
Russia’s Polyansky called the internal situation in Libya “alarming” and said the continued partition of the country “will lead to nothing but further destabilization of the situation”.
“Evidence of this includes the increasingly frequent clashes between armed groups, mobilization activities and large-scale demonstrations by civilians,” he said.
Polyansky said: “The main goal of the UN Security Council right now is to prevent outbreaks of violence from turning into civil war.”
He said one way to break the current deadlock is to get the Libyans to agree on a new constitution and hold national elections.
US Deputy Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis urged the UN political mission in Libya, known as UNSMIL, to lead the way in pushing for agreement on a constitution, a timetable for elections, a “transparent mechanism” to limit oil revenues. and to persuade all parties to refrain from using force.
Libya’s UN Ambassador Taher Elsonni told the Security Council that the more than 3 million Libyans who have registered to vote “have tremendous hopes for the end of this protracted litany of crises … to express their will.”
He applauded “the glimpses of a consensus that is beginning to emerge”, including on Bathily’s appointment after a nine-month search amid mounting chaos in Libya.
Russia called the delay unacceptable and only agreed to extend UNSMIL’s mandate by three months each time until the Security Council agreed on a new special representative.