The Libyans face “a historic opportunity to overcome” the crisis in which their country has been mired since 2011, the UN envoy to Libya said on Tuesday, still hoping for elections to be held this year.
“A historic opportunity is open to overcome this decade of crisis,” Senegalese Abdoulaye Bathily, head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (Manul), told a meeting of the Security Council.
In recent weeks, “there is a new dynamic in Libya. Intense consultations are taking place between security actors. Institutional and political leaders are also taking steps to advance the political process”, he noted.
Abdoulaye Bathily particularly welcomed the holding of several meetings in March and April in Tunis, Tripoli, Benghazi, and Sebha of military representatives from the various regions of the country who “committed themselves to supporting all stages of the elections, rejecting violence throughout Libya and take practical measures for the safe return of displaced persons”.
“Meetings between military units and security formations from the East, West, and South represent a breakthrough. These meetings carry great symbolic value on the path towards reconciliation and the unification of the country,” he said. he added.
But this “new national dynamic” must be “sustainable and amplified”, noted Mr. Bathily, assuring that the UN would continue its mediation work so that all the “political, legal and security” conditions are met “so that the elections can be held this year”.
Presidential and legislative elections, initially scheduled for December 2021, had been postponed indefinitely due to persistent differences, in particular on the legal basis of the polls and the presence of controversial candidates.
Libya has been going through a major political crisis since the 2011 uprising that brought down Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years of dictatorship.
Two governments are vying for power, one based in Tripoli (west) and recognized by the UN, the other supported by the strongman of eastern Libya, Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
Mr. Bathily had announced a new initiative in February to try to break the impasse and recently hoped that an agreement could be reached “by mid-June” to organize the elections before the end of 2023.