Libya. Cease-fire, elections scheduled, offer rare window of hope, according to Security Council |
Ján Kubiš, who is the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Libya and heads the United Nations Support Mission in the country (UNSMIL), described the progress made since the ceasefire agreement in October 2020 , the launch of a Libyan political dialogue forum and the start of a process of reunification of its state institutions.
He called on all parties to redouble their commitment to the peace process in Libya and to stay the course ahead of the critical December elections.
Strides and stalls
Welcoming the continuation of Libya’s ceasefire agreement, Kubiš said confidence-building between the parties continued despite occasional clashes between armed groups.
In recent months, hundreds of prisoners and detainees have been released on both sides, with releases taking place almost weekly in different parts of the country during the month of Ramadan.
Efforts also continue to deploy UNSMIL observers in support of the Libyan-led and held Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism.
However, progress on key issues such as the reopening of a main coastal road and the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and foreign fighters – spelled out in the October ceasefire agreement and endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 2570 (2021) – were blocked.
In addition, he said, a recent report by the overseeing panel of experts painted a grim picture of non-compliance with the arms embargo in Libya.
A critical election
“It is up to the Libyan authorities and institutions to use the opportunities of newly regained unity and sovereignty to continue the political transition,” Kubiš said.
Underlining the progress made in the preparation of the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for December 24, including the production of 2.3 million voter cards, he nevertheless indicated that many steps remain to be taken.
The House of Representatives is responsible for clarifying the constitutional basis for elections and passing the necessary electoral legislation by July 1, giving the country’s National High Election Commission sufficient time to prepare before the vote.
A bill on direct presidential elections is ready to be presented to the House of Representatives, according to its president. Mr Kubiš warned that preparations for the elections would be in vain if the law is not passed.
Mercenaries and foreign fighters
As Libya continues on its path to elections and institution-building, the presence and activities of thousands of mercenaries, foreign fighters and armed groups remain a critical threat – not only to Libya, but to all of it. the region.
In his briefing today, Mr. Kubiš referred to recent violent incidents in Chad, including clashes with armed groups that killed the country’s president, Idriss Déby Itno, in April.
The high mobility of terrorists and armed groups, as well as the movement of migrants and refugees trafficked across porous borders by organized criminal networks, all increase the risk of instability.
In this context, Mr. Kubiš said that foreign fighters and armed groups originating in the region must be withdrawn in an orderly manner, accompanied by disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs and associated with efforts to tackle the root causes of the conflict.