UN decries lack of progress in upcoming Libyan elections


The United Nations Security Council meeting on Libya is seen in New York, U.S., July 16, 2021 (AA Photo)

The United Nations Special Envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, on Thursday, decried the lack of progress made toward holding elections in the war-torn country in December later this year.

Kubis accused “spoilers” of trying to obstruct the holding of crucial elections to unify the divided North African nation, and the Security Council warned that any individual or group undermining the electoral process could face U.N. sanctions.

Kubis told a ministerial meeting of the council that he spoke to many key players during his just-ended visit to Libya and all of them reiterated their commitment to presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24, but “I am afraid many of them are not ready to walk the talk.”

He pointed to the failure of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, a 75-member body from all walks of life, to agree on a legal framework to hold elections earlier this month, putting a roadmap to end the decade-old conflict in the oil-rich nation in jeopardy. He also cited the failure of foreign forces and mercenaries to leave Libya within 90 days as required under last October’s cease-fire, and the failure to reopen the coastal road linking the country’s east and west, another key cease-fire provision.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and split the oil-rich country between a U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the country’s east.

In April 2019, east-based putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar and his forces, backed by Egypt, Russia, France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched an offensive to try and capture Tripoli. His 14-month-long campaign collapsed after Turkey stepped up its support of the U.N.-backed government. That led to the October cease-fire and roadmap to elections adopted in Tunis a month later that included a transitional government.

Kubis urged members of the Forum to put their differences aside and agree on a proposal for the constitutional basis of elections that the House of Representatives could immediately adopt.

“Interest groups, spoilers and armed actors must not be allowed to derail the process aimed at restoring the legitimacy, unity and sovereignty of the Libyan state and its institutions,” he stressed.

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