UN envoy decries continued political stalemate in Libya

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The oil-rich nation has grappled with a number of challenges for the reason that overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The postponement of nationwide elections, initially deliberate for December 2021, has additional deepened the disaster.

Final November, UN Particular Consultant Abdoulaye Bathily invited leaders of Libya’s 5 key establishments – the Authorities of Nationwide Unity, the Home of Representatives, the Excessive Council of State, the Libyan Nationwide Military and the Presidency Council – to talks in efforts to interrupt their deadlock.

“I name once more on them, actually, to have a way of historical past…to consider the way forward for their nation,” he advised UN Information.

Mr. Bathily additionally mentioned the dire state of affairs of Libya’s inhabitants and renewed geopolitical curiosity within the nation on the a part of some regional and worldwide powers, sparked by crises together with battle in Ukraine and neighbouring Sudan, and instability within the Sahel.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability and size.

Abdoulaye Bathily: Libya has been present process completely different transition regimes since 2011, and all have determined at one level or one other to create circumstances for elections in order that there might be peace and stability within the nation. Nonetheless, what we now have seen over the past decade is that these have simply been good intentions which have been proclaimed, however not applied.

Libya shouldn’t be a poor nation; there are sufficient assets for each Libyan to reside in prosperity

Furthermore, we now have seen that each one these transitional leaders in Libya continued their rivalry, they usually weren’t truly thinking about elections going down. They weren’t thinking about stabilising the nation and fuelled tensions within the nation, and even fuelled rivalries amongst their supporters – the armed teams – which assist them, respectively. Additionally, we now have seen that they’re very completely satisfied vis-à-vis the present state of affairs whereby they’ll share the fruits of presidency amongst themselves.

Libya shouldn’t be a poor nation. Regardless of this disaster, Libya nonetheless produces 1.3 billion barrels of oil a day. There are sufficient assets for each Libyan to reside in prosperity. Nonetheless, what we now have seen is that the atypical Libyan has turn into impoverished over the past 10 years.

UN Information: You warned that the renewed scramble for Libya amongst inside and exterior gamers is rendering an answer elusive. Why are we seeing this scramble being renewed just lately?

Abdoulaye Bathily: At one level in the course of the battle, there was some extent of consensus amongst worldwide and regional gamers that they need to assist the Libyans strike a deal for a consensus, for a political settlement, which is able to deliver collectively all of the Libyan leaders, unite the nation and, after all, deliver again peace and stability.

Nonetheless, what I’ve seen over the previous months is that on account of the influence of the Ukrainian disaster on Libya – each when it comes to wealth, oil and gasoline, but in addition the navy and geopolitical place of Libya within the central Mediterranean – this geographical place of Libya has renewed a type of geopolitical curiosity of a lot of regional and worldwide powers.

The Ukrainian disaster has introduced a brand new dimension to the Libyan disaster due to the financial and geopolitical penalties. On the similar time, the struggle in Sudan has additionally had an influence over current months on each the safety state of affairs and financial state of affairs.

Past the instant southern border of Libya, you may have the disaster within the Sahel, which additionally has worsened over the past months in Mali, Burkina Faso and, after all, the refugee state of affairs in Chad. All this has impacted tremendously on the inner state of affairs in Libya.

People gather outside a flood-damaged apartment building in Derna, eastern Libya.

© UNICEF/Mostafa Alatrib

Folks collect exterior a flood-damaged residence constructing in Derna, jap Libya.

UN Information: In a press release this month, UN Safety Council members expressed their gratitude to you and reaffirmed their dedication to an inclusive, Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political course of facilitated by the United Nations. What’s your tackle this?

Abdoulaye Bathily: I welcome this assertion and hope that what we name a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned course of might be carried out by good religion Libyan actors. It is a drawback we at all times had in Libya as a result of so long as these leaders who’ve been unwilling to have interaction in an inclusive negotiation course of for a peaceable settlement can proceed to monopolise the political course of, I’m afraid we can’t have an answer in Libya.

UN Information: What are the most recent efforts by UNSMIL to reverse the intentional defiance to have interaction in earnest and a tenacity to delay elections in Libya?

Abdoulaye Bathily: The Excessive State Council, Presidential Council, Authorities of Nationwide Unity and the Libyan Nationwide Military are the buildings in the present day that may make peace or make struggle in Libya, who’re on the coronary heart of drawback within the nation. Because of this, for us, this was seen as an inclusive mechanism which may deliver a peaceable settlement, if they’re prepared to take action.

Sadly, a few of them have put circumstances or preconditions. Additionally, they’ve been sadly supported by some exterior gamers who’ve taken parallel initiatives which tended to neutralise our initiatives. So long as those self same gamers are supported in by hook or by crook by exterior gamers, we can’t have an answer.

Because of this I mentioned to the Council that it is vital that each one the worldwide gamers and all of the regional gamers not solely converse the identical language, but in addition act accordingly to assist a peaceable and inclusive course of in Libya.

A boy runs past damaged buildings, defaced by shelling during the conflict, on his way home from shopping, in the city of Sirte. (file)

© UNICEF/Giovanni Diffidenti

A boy runs previous broken buildings, defaced by shelling in the course of the battle, on his means residence from buying, within the metropolis of Sirte. (file)

UN Information: Whereas the political stalemate in Libya persists, the financial state of affairs is changing into severely strained. What are your newest observations in that respect?

Abdoulaye Bathily: The deterioration of the financial state of affairs is clear for everyone. The Libyan pound has been actually happening towards the greenback. The buying energy of residents is changing into decrease and decrease, and there are numerous complaints amongst residents about this. Regardless of the nation’s big wealth, the vast majority of the inhabitants don’t profit.

Immediately, Libya has gone backward. There may be extra poverty and insecurity and fewer democracy and safety for the majority of the inhabitants. That is the fact in Libya in the present day, sadly.

UN Information: You additionally voiced concern over the presence of armed actors and heavy weaponry within the capital, Tripoli. Are you able to inform us extra concerning the safety state of affairs there and in Libya typically?

Everyone knows that Libya in the present day is nearly an open grocery store of arms; Libya is more and more changing into a type of mafia state

Abdoulaye Bathily: Everyone knows that Libya in the present day is nearly an open grocery store of arms, that are used for inside political competitors amongst armed teams, but in addition used within the arms offers, within the arms race and within the arms commerce with their neighbours and past.

The safety state of affairs is an increasing number of regarding for the residents as a result of all these teams are competing for extra energy and extra entry to the wealth of the nation, and subsequently, their rivalries heighten the tensions all through Libya and notably in western Libya.

UN Information: One other concern plaguing Libya is the dire state of affairs of migrants and refugees. Are you able to inform us extra about this?

Abdoulaye Bathily: Migration is without doubt one of the burning points in Libya in the present day. As we all know, there’s numerous human trafficking. Sadly, due to the safety state of affairs, there isn’t any hope that we will consider this example enhancing within the mid-term and even long-term.

Libya is more and more changing into a type of mafia state, which is dominated by a lot of teams concerned in trafficking gasoline, migrants, metals akin to gold and medicines. All this trafficking is interlinked and performed by the identical teams of people who’re clearly recognized in numerous areas of Libya, within the neighbouring nations and throughout the Mediterranean.

UN Information: As you put together to go away workplace, what could be your remaining message to the important thing Libyan stakeholders who, as you mentioned earlier than, haven’t budged from their preconditions to attend the talks you invited them to final 12 months?

Abdoulaye Bathily: I name once more on them to have a way of historical past and to consider the way forward for their nation. They need to take the ethical duty earlier than their nation. I might additionally prolong a name to their mentors, to those that assist them in persevering with to maintain this stalemate which is detrimental to the pursuits of the Libyan folks and to the area, not solely North Africa, however the Sahel.

It’s time that the Libyan folks, who’ve been aspiring for peace and stability, to have entry to that peace and stability they’ve been eager for.


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