The UN Special Envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, on Thursday rejected the lack of progress towards elections in the war-torn country in December later this year.
Kubis accused “destroyers” of trying to prevent the holding of crucial elections to unite the divided North African nation, and the Security Council warned that any individual or group undermining the electoral process could be subject to UN sanctions.
Kubis said at a ministerial meeting in the Council that he spoke to many key players during his recent visit to Libya and all reiterated their commitment to the presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, but “I am afraid many of them are not ready to talk. ”
He pointed out that the Libyan political dialogue forum, a body of 75 members from all walks of life, had failed to agree on a legal framework for holding elections earlier this month and setting a roadmap to end the decade-old conflict in the oil process. rich nation in danger. He also cited the failure of foreign forces and mercenaries to leave Libya within 90 days as required in the ceasefire in October last year, and the failure to reopen the coastal road connecting the country’s east and west, another important experience of violence.
Libya has been plagued by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising overthrew longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and divided the oil-rich country between a UN-backed government in the capital Tripoli and rival authorities based in the country’s east.
In April 2019, the East-based putschist General Khalifa Haftar and his forces, with the support of Egypt, Russia, France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched an offensive to try to capture Tripoli. His 14-month campaign collapsed after Turkey intensified its support for the UN-backed government. This led to a ceasefire in October and a roadmap for elections was adopted in Tunis a month later which included a transitional government.
Kubis called on members of the forum to put aside differences and agree on a proposal for the constitutional basis for elections that the House of Representatives could adopt immediately.
“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.
A presidential statement adopted by the Security Council reiterated Kubi’s call for immediate action and legislation to enable the High National Election Commission “to have sufficient time and resources” to prepare for elections.
Libyan Transitional Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah reiterated the government’s commitment to the “historic” elections on December 24, saying: “At the forefront of the tasks ahead is to achieve the constitutional basis and the necessary electoral law as soon as possible.”
Dbeibah also stressed that mercenaries and foreign fighters pose a threat to the political process.
The Council stressed that individuals and entities could face financial freezes and travel bans if the Security Council’s Committee on the Implementation of UN Sanctions found that they were carrying out or supporting actions that threatened Libya’s peace, stability or security or undermined its political transition, “and stressed that such actions may include obstructing or undermining the planned elections “in the forum’s roadmap.
The Security Council reiterated its call on all countries, Libyan parties and “relevant actors” to fully implement the ceasefire agreement “including the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.”
Kubis warned that the continued presence of foreign forces and mercenaries threatens the ceasefire.
“It is imperative that Libyan and international actors agree on a plan to begin and complete the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces,” he said. “The first signals for this purpose are encouraging, but concrete steps and agreements are needed.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose country holds the presidency of the Council and chaired the meeting, said that maintaining the election date on December 24 was “absolutely necessary” and required a progressive timeframe for “foreign elements”.
According to the latest UN estimates, 20,000 foreign forces are still deployed in Libya today.
Kubis said the Joint Military Commission, consisting of five members from each party, is the key to implementing the ceasefire and for political development, and warned that its important role “could be resolved if the political process remains halted.”
“Therefore, every effort must be made to preserve its unity and to isolate its work from the damaging effects of the political stalemate and the closure of Libya’s key political actors,” he said.
Kubis cited discrepancies between the transitional government and the House of Representatives, the government and Haftar’s eastern Libyan national army and those who want to respect the December 24 election timeline “and those who would see the election delayed.”
He said the consequences of the political impasse “are already beginning to manifest themselves.”
The House of Representatives failed to adopt the budget submitted by the transitional government, Kubis said. Haftar’s Libyan National Army refused to allow the government to extend its authority to areas it controls. The government and the Presidency Council failed to agree on the Minister of Defense, which is crucial for the implementation of the ceasefire, and the Joint Military Commission postponed the reopening of the coastal road to protest the lack of action against the election and withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces.
The Security Council’s meeting followed last month’s conference on Libya in Berlin, where Germany and the United Nations brought together 17 countries and Libya’s transitional leadership to promote the implementation of ceasefire and election roadmaps. The President’s statement welcomed the conclusions of the conference.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the Council that “Libya has come a long way towards peace and unity over the past year.”
He called on the international community to “take a strong stand against those who advocate postponing the election for selfish political motives” and called on the Council to reaffirm “that it will not tolerate any obstacle” – and that it will stay the course and make progress in Libya “irrevocable.”