UN chief: Libya’s rivals must keep peace and hold elections

Sep 14, 2022, 4:37 AM | Updated: 4:40 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief urged Libya’s political rivals on Wednesday to preserve peace “at all costs” and quickly agree on legal changes so elections can take place because there is a question of government “legitimacy that now becomes extremely difficult to overcome.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also strongly encouraged world powers and countries that have interests in the North African country to meet again in Berlin, saying previous conferences of key players were “the most useful international instrument that we had to avoid the worst.”

Libya plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The oil-rich North African county has for years been split between rival administrations in the east and west, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

The country’s current political crisis stems from the failure to hold elections in December 2021 and the refusal of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah who led a transitional government to step down. In response, the country’s east-based parliament appointed a rival prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, who has for months sought to install his government in Tripoli.

U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned the Security Council on Aug. 30 that failure to resolve Libya’s political crisis and hold delayed elections poses a growing threat in the country, pointing to recent violent clashes that killed at least 42 people and injured 159 others, according to Libyan authorities.

She said the clashes between armed groups supporting the rival claimants to be prime minister involved the indiscriminate use of medium and heavy weapons and displaced 50 families, significantly damaged five health facilities, and affected two detention centers for migrants and refugees involving a total of 560 people.

Secretary-General Guterres told a news conference Wednesday that it’s difficult to know what the biggest challenge is for his recently appointed new envoy for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, a former Senegalese minister and U.N. diplomat whose selection after a nine-month search amid increasing chaos in the country has already been opposed by Dbeibah.

The U.N. chief said preserving peace between east and west, and avoiding confrontations like the recent ones in the capital Tripoli between militias supporting Dbeibah and Fathi, are “fundamental.”

Guterres called on the east-based House of Representatives and the High Council of State, an advisory body based in the capital of Tripoli, to agree quickly on legal changes so elections can be held.

The Dec. 24 presidential vote was postponed over disputes between the rival factions on laws governing the elections, and controversial presidential hopefuls. Lawmakers have argued that the mandate of Dbeibah’s government ended on Dec. 24.

Guterres said another challenge is to make sure that “all external actors” support a process of reconciliation as well as political developments leading to elections, and “a legitimate government that everybody accepts.”

The secretary-general responded to a question about the importance of reviving the Berlin process, saying “I think it is very important.”

He said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock “already indicated that Germany will be thinking about that possibility, and I strongly encourage that.”

At the first Berlin conference in January 2020, then German chancellor Angela Merkel hosted leaders of 11 countries and Libya’s two main rival leaders in the German capital. They agreed to respect a much-violated arms embargo, hold off on military support to the warring parties and push them to reach a full cease-fire.

At the last Berlin conference in June 2021, where Germany and the United Nations brought together 17 countries, Libya’s transitional leadership headed by Dbeibah underlined its commitment to Dec. 24 elections. Powers involved in Libya recommitted to refraining from interfering in Libya’s internal affairs and stated that foreign forces and mercenaries need to be withdrawn “without delay” — something on which there has been very little progress to date.

Guterres said that unfortunately “it was impossible to reach a full solution” to Libya’s political crisis through the Berlin process, “but it was possible to avoid the worst” and he supports another Berlin conference.

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


Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition, ...

Associated Press

US, Europe working on voluntary AI code of conduct as calls grow for regulation

The United States and Europe are drawing up a voluntary code of conduct for artificial intelligence as the developing technology triggers warnings

9 hours ago

FILE - Idaho Attorney General candidate Rep. Raul Labrador speaks during the Idaho Republican Party...

Associated Press

Families sue to block Idaho law barring gender-affirming care for minors

The families of two transgender teenagers filed a lawsuit Thursday to block enforcement of Idaho's ban on gender-affirming medical care for minors.

1 day ago

Amazon agreed Wednesday to pay a $25 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission alleg...

Associated Press

Amazon fined $25M for violating child privacy with Alexa

Amazon agreed Wednesday to pay a $25 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations it violated a child privacy law

1 day ago

FILE - Candles are lit on a memorial wall during an anniversary memorial service at the Holy Trinit...

Associated Press

Pain and terror felt by passengers before Boeing Max crashed can be considered, judge rules

Families of passengers who died in the crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia can seek damages for the pain and terror suffered by victims in the minutes before the plane flew nose-down into the ground, a federal judge has ruled.

2 days ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI speaks at University College ...

Associated Press

Artificial intelligence threatens extinction, experts say in new warning

Scientists and tech industry leaders issued a new warning Tuesday about the perils that artificial intelligence poses to humankind.

2 days ago

Amazon agreed Wednesday to pay a $25 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission alleg...

Associated Press

Hundreds of Amazon workers protest company’s climate impact, return-to-office mandate

SEATTLE (AP) — Telling executives to “strive harder,” hundreds of corporate Amazon workers protested what they decried as the company’s lack of progress on climate goals and an inequitable return-to-office mandate during a lunchtime demonstration at its Seattle headquarters Wednesday. The protest came a week after Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting and a month after a […]

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

UN chief: Libya’s rivals must keep peace and hold elections