Libya’s interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah met with US Ambassador Richard Norland on Thursday to discuss developments in the war-torn nation.
“The current political situation with a special focus on preventing outbreaks of violence was discussed,” Norland said on Twitter.
“I called for the immediate reopening of Libya’s airspace for domestic flights,” Norland said, stressing the importance of “participating in mediation efforts in good faith to help Libya maintain stability.”
The meeting also addressed the Libyan oil issue and “the responsible distribution of Libya’s oil wealth for the benefit of the entire Libyan people.”
Libya is witnessing a deep political divide when the Tobruk-based parliament in early March gave confidence to a new government led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha while Dbeibah insists on continuing with his post and duties as prime minister.
As a result of differences in electoral laws and the role of the judiciary in the electoral process, the country was unable to hold presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for December 24, 2021.
Libya is facing a “new phase of political polarization”, UN Deputy Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo warned on Wednesday.
In comments to the UN Security Council on the situation in the conflict-torn country, DiCarlo said there were risks that would divide the country’s institutions again and reverse “the gains made over the past two years”.
“We know from experience what unilateral actions, divided government and an infinite transition can have in store for Libya,” she said.
DiCarlo called for “credible, transparent and inclusive elections based on a sound constitutional and legal framework”, which she said is the “only solution to the current stalemate.”
The official also called on members of the Council to help convey her call to Libyan parties and ask the Libyan authorities to “remain united in support of the UN’s efforts to help Libya on its path to a peaceful and stable country.”
Libya’s political crisis has escalated since the collapse of a planned election in December that was planned as part of a peace process to reunite the country after years of chaos and war following a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.
Parliament declared that the Provisional Unity Government, which was intended to oversee the run-up to the elections, had expired and appointed Bashagha as the new Prime Minister this month.
However, the Unity Government’s Prime Minister Dbeibah has refused to relinquish power and armed factions supporting each side have mobilized in and around the capital.
The UN is trying to resolve the crisis by pushing for new elections soon and has asked political bodies to join a committee to resolve constitutional and legal disputes that helped torpedo December’s planned vote.
“We have observed increasingly threatening rhetoric, growing political tensions and fragmented loyalties among the armed groups in western Libya,” DiCarlo said.
She added that there had been a worrying development, including the suspension of domestic flights within Libya and the relocation last week of certain forces backing both sides towards the capital.
Turkey and Libya have seen closer ties in recent years, especially after the signing of security and maritime border pacts in November 2019, along with Turkey’s assistance to help the legitimate Libyan government push back the forces of the putschist general Khalifa Haftar. Libya has been plagued by civil war since ousted ruler Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.
During the recent crisis in Libya, Turkey supported the UN-recognized legitimate government in Tripoli against the eastern-based illegal forces led by Haftar, backed by Egypt, France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia. Turkey’s support for the Tripoli government was crucial in repelling Haftar’s forces offensively to conquer the capital Tripoli and led to a period of stability that resulted in the formation of the unity government.
In the current situation, Turkey proposes that an election reflecting the will of the Libyan people be held in order to establish a long and stable government in the country.
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