UN: Libya is `highly volatile’ and elections are needed soon

Jul 25, 2022, 7:37 AM | Updated: 7:39 pm
Libyan army forces and vehicles are stationed in a street in the country’s capital of Tripoli on ...

Libyan army forces and vehicles are stationed in a street in the country’s capital of Tripoli on Friday, July 22 2022. One of Libya’s rival governments on Friday called on militias to stop fighting, after clashes broke out in the country’s capital, Tripoli overnight, killing at least one civilian and forcing around 200 people to flee the area. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad)

(AP Photo/Yousef Murad)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Libya is mired in a constitutional and political stalemate that has sparked increasing clashes, a dire economic situation and demonstrations across the country by frustrated citizens, a senior U.N. official said Monday.

Assistant Secretary-General Martha Pobee told the U.N. Security Council the overall situation in Libya remains “highly volatile,” with a tense security situation, “deeply disturbing” shows of force and sporadic violence by militias engaged in political maneuvering.

She also cited a dispute over leadership of the National Oil Corporation and serious human rights concerns, including the reported arrest by armed groups of dozens of protesters who took part in July 1 demonstrations decrying deteriorating living conditions and demanding progress on elections.

Oil-rich Libya has been wracked by conflict since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country was split by rival administrations, one in the east backed by military commander Khalifa Hifter and a U.N.-supported administration in the capital of Tripoli in the west. Each side is supported by different militias and foreign powers.

In April 2019, Hifter and his forces, backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive trying to capture Tripoli. His campaign collapsed after Turkey stepped up its military support for the U.N.-supported government with hundreds of troops and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.

An October 2020 cease-fire accord led to an agreement on a transitional government in early February 2021 headed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and to the scheduling of elections for last Dec. 24.

But the elections weren’t held. Dbeibah has refused to step down, and in response the country’s east-based lawmakers elected a rival prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, a former interior minister who is now operating a separate administration out of the city of Sirte.

Pobee said a meeting in Geneva last month between the speaker of the country’s east-based parliament, Aguila Saleh, and Khaled al-Meshri, head of the government’s Supreme Council of State in Tripoli overcame “important contentious points” in a 2017 proposal for a new constitution. But she said they could not agree on one major issue — eligibility requirements for presidential candidates.

The Tripoli-based council insists on banning military personnel as well as dual citizens from running for the country’s top post. That is apparently directed at Hifter, a divisive commander and U.S. citizen who had announced his candidacy for the canceled December election.

Pobee said the U.N. special adviser on Libya, Stephanie Williams, has remained in contact with both sides “and urged them to bridge this gap.”

At a July 21 meeting of international partners in Istanbul, Williams reiterated that elections are “the only lasting solution that places Libya firmly on the path towards peace and stability,” Pobee said.

Pobee urged council members and Libya’s international partners to use their influence on the rivals to agree on elections as soon as possible.

Libya’s U.N. ambassador, Taher El Sonni, who represents the Tripoli government, said that “the current situation could get out of hand at any moment unless radical solutions are found away from foreign interventions and political maneuvers.”

He accused the Security Council of doing nothing out of “paralysis” and internal divisions. He urged its members to listen to Libyan protesters “and their overwhelming desire to end this nightmare and get out of this cycle of conflict and never-ending crises.”

The council meeting took place ahead of the July 31 expiration of the mandate for the U.N. political mission in Libya, which includs a Joint Military Commission monitoring the 2020 cease-fire.

The council’s resolution authorizing the mission called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, and Pobee said the monitors plan to meet in Sirte in early August to finalize a proposed plan for their withdrawal.

The council voted April 29 to extend the U.N. mission for just three months because of Russia’s insistence that it must have a new special representative before it has a longer mandate.

Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, told the council Monday that Moscow recognizes that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is trying to solve the problem. But he said until a candidate satisfies the Libyans, regional players and all council members, the best option is another three month extension for the mission.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A currency trader walks by screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), right, an...
Associated Press

Asian shares mostly higher, echoing Wall Street rebound

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly rose Tuesday after a rebound on Wall Street, despite regional investor risks reflected in negative economic data out of China. The benchmark in Tokyo was little changed, erasing earlier gains, but indexes in South Korea and Australia gained. Hong Kong’s benchmark slipped, while Shanghai shares rose. Falling oil prices […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this photo released by the Taiwan Legislative Yuan, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left...
Associated Press

China sets sanctions on Taiwan figures to punish US, island

BEIJING (AP) — China imposed visa bans and other sanctions Tuesday on Taiwanese political figures as it raises pressure on the self-governing island and the U.S. in response to successive congressional visits. The sanctions come a day after China set more military exercises in the seas and skies surrounding Taiwan in response to what it […]
1 day ago
A man looks out from an apartment destroyed after Russian shelling in Nikopol, Ukraine, Monday, Aug...
Associated Press

2 injured in fire at ammunition storage site on Crimea

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A fire at an ammunition storage site on Crimea left two people injured on Tuesday, local officials said, coming a week after a series of explosions at an air base on the peninsula that was annexed from Ukraine by Russia. The blaze and blasts rattled the village of Mayskoye in the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Germany flying 6 fighters 8K miles in 24 hours to Singapore

BANGKOK (AP) — A group of German air force fighter jets neared Singapore on Tuesday in a marathon bid to fly them some 12,800 kilometers (8,000 miles) from their home base to Southeast Asia in just 24 hours. The exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions between China and the U.S. and its allies […]
1 day ago
FILE — Giorgia Meloni holds an Italian flag as she addresses a rally in Rome, Saturday, Oct. 19, ...
Associated Press

Far-right Italian leader Meloni rides popular wave in polls

ROME (AP) — With a message that blends Christianity, motherhood and patriotism, Giorgia Meloni is riding a wave of popularity that next month could see her become Italy’s first female prime minister and its first far-right leader since World War II. Even though her Brothers of Italy party has neo-fascist roots, Meloni has sought to […]
1 day ago
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, wearing a face mask arrives at Court of Appeal...
Associated Press

Top Malaysian court orders ex-PM Najib to begin final appeal

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s top court ordered former Prime Minister Najib Razak to begin his final appeal Tuesday after rejecting his request to throw out his graft conviction and 12-year sentence over potential judicial bias. Najib has sought to introduce new evidence that would spark a retrial on grounds that the high court judge […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
UN: Libya is `highly volatile’ and elections are needed soon