Libya: positive steps are needed to break “political deadlock”

The interrelated tracks of the implementation of Libya’s ceasefire agreement, political progress and economic reform are at risk of being reversed, UN Special Envoy Ján Kubiš warned Thursday before the Security Council.

“Positive steps are now needed to avoid a backtracking,” he said at the ministerial-level meeting.

To avoid a return to conflict, violence and chaos, Mr. Kubiš, who also heads the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), underlined the “overwhelming demand and expectations” of Libyan citizens and the international community for the timely elections that are needed. to complete the democratic transition of the country.

‘From words to deeds’

Despite large-scale meetings resulting in commitments to hold elections on December 24, the UN official said that many of his interlocutors “are not ready to follow the rhetoric”.

Noting that the constitutional basis for the elections “should have been clarified by now”, he said that even after long sessions in Geneva last month, members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) remained “fragmented”.

“Due to this failure of both the constitutional reform bodies and the LPDF, the situation in Libya is becoming more difficult, conflictual and tense,” said the head of UNSMIL.

“Institutional, political and individual interests” oppose finalizing the legal framework necessary to hold the December elections, he said, calling those hindering progress “spoilers.”

political ramifications

The UN official expressed deep concern at the wider consequences of the political and electoral stalemate.

He warned that if the stalemate is not resolved quickly, it could reverse the positive momentum seen just a few months ago.

“The ramifications of the political impasse and the risk it poses to other key national priorities”, particularly on the security and economic side, “are already beginning to manifest themselves,” Kubiš warned.

Implementation of the ceasefire

Although the October ceasefire agreement is still in effect, the UN envoy raised concerns over the unity of military representatives from opposing parties, known as the Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC 5 + 5), fearing that the agreement could collapse if the political process remains blocked.

Emphasizing the “vital role” of the JMC in the implementation of the agreement and paving the way for political progress, he stressed that “everything must be done” to “preserve its unity” and isolate its work from “the impasse Politics”.

The government and 5 + 5 JMC have indicated that the main task of the UN component should be to monitor the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign fighters, rather than to verify compliance with the ceasefire agreement.

Mr. Kubiš said “it is imperative that Libyan and international actors agree on a plan to start and complete the withdrawal”.

He also warned against the resumption of terrorist activities by violent extremists, especially in the south, and urged those with an interest in Libya’s security to jointly tackle the threat.

IDPs, migrants and refugees

While the overall humanitarian situation has improved since the ceasefire, serious challenges remain to ensure that returned internally displaced persons (IDPs) have adequate and sustainable access to basic services, such as as health care and educational institutions.

The UN official noted that planned and often forced evictions targeting IDP communities by Libyan authorities are a growing concern, as are attacks on migrants and refugees, recalling that “forced evictions without due process are human rights violations ”.

At the same time, the situation for migrants and refugees remains “dire” as the number of people attempting to cross the Mediterranean continues to increase.

“As of June 26, the Libyan coast guard has intercepted and returned to Libya 14,751 migrants and refugees, exceeding the total number of all returnees in 2020,” he said, urging the government to “quickly approve” the resumption of humanitarian evacuation and voluntary resettlement and return of migrants and refugees from Libya.

Concluding on a positive note, Kubiš said the Libyan Expert Committee on Combating Violence against Women adopted in June the first comprehensive bill in the Middle East region on combating violence against women. against violence against women.

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