The Libyan parliament rejects UN “interference”

Libya’s war – torn parliament rejected all “interference” in its work, its spokesman told UN envoy Stephanie Williams on Monday after she offered to mediate in an election press when the country was torn between two prime ministers.

Williams had on Friday offered to host talks between the eastern legislator and the institutions in the western capital Tripoli in a push for far-delayed votes.

She has also warned of an “escalation” after parliament appointed a new prime minister in an attempt to oust the head of the unity government’s prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who has promised to hand over power only to an elected administration.

At the meeting with Williams on Monday, Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh “rejected all interference in the House of Representatives’ decision and stressed that they are not subject to ratification by anyone.”

In a statement on Parliament’s website, he stressed that the “appointment of a new government” was legal because it had expired for Dbeibah.

The construction magnate Dbeibah was appointed after a landmark 2020 ceasefire with a mandate to lead the country to the election on 24 December.

Sharp divisions over the legal and constitutional basis of the election and the presence of controversial candidates – including both Saleh and Dbeibah – led to the abstention.

But Saleh has insisted that his rivals’ mandate is up and running to appoint former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha to lead a new government.

To overcome the dead end and push for elections, Williams on Friday proposed a joint committee of members of parliament and the High Council of State, a Tripoli-based upper house, to create “a constitutional basis for opinion polls”.

She tweeted on Monday that she and Saleh had discussed the idea “in detail” and that she was looking forward to receiving nominations from delegates from both sides “in the coming days”.

“We agreed that holding timely elections with a sound constitutional basis is the best way forward and reflects the genuine aspirations of the Libyan people, especially the 2.8 million who registered to vote,” she said.

She also reiterated the call for calm and “the importance of cooperation between Libyan institutions for lasting stability.”

Prime Minister Khalid al-Mishri welcomed her offer, provided it did not involve “interference”.

But in a letter to Williams on Sunday, 93 lawmakers rejected her offer as “sudden and unjustified.”

The struggle for control of the Libyan government following the collapse of a planned election in December threatens to return the country to conflict and division that has prevailed for much of the period since a NATO-backed revolution in 2011.

Parliament’s position is backed by Eastern Putz general Khalifa Haftar, who waged a 14-month war against Tripoli from 2019 to 2020. Armed factions in the capital and western regions appear divided over the crisis, with some saying on Tuesday they opposed parliament’s position. move to install a new government.

Bashagha, a former interior minister, said he was determined to hold elections within the time frame set by parliament next year, adding that he wanted to reach an agreement between rival political institutions on the issue.

Disputes over basic rules for the election led to the collapse of the planned vote in December.

Oil blocked

On Monday, Williams also stressed that Libyan oil must flow again after a shutdown at two oil fields of “gangs”.

“I follow with concern reports of oil field closures and the closure of certain civilian aircraft,” Williams wrote on Twitter.

“Blocking oil production deprives all Libyans of their main source of income. The oil blockade should be lifted,” she added.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Sunday that production at the Sharara and al-Feel fields, in southwestern Libya, had been shut down by “gangs”, forcing production to decline by 330,000 barrels per day.

This leads to a loss of more than 160 million Libyan dinars daily ($ 34.6 million), NOC added.

Oil is the North African nation’s main source of income, but its crude oil production is repeatedly stopped due to violence between different warlords that has been going on for decades.

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