Abdoulaye Bathily, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), has urged Libyan stakeholders to maintain the progress made in addressing the “shortcomings” that are impeding the holding of presidential and legislative elections as soon as possible.
He stated that the new developments “give us cautious optimism” that Libyan stakeholders will be able to join together “to address issues of common concern for the greater good of the nation.”
“A unified government, agreed upon by the major players, is an imperative for leading the country to elections,” Bathily told the US Security Council on Tuesday.
“I continued my intensive engagement with the main Libyan stakeholders to achieve three main objectives: Firstly, to convince the House of Representatives and the High State Council to consider proposals from the High National Elections Commission, other Libyan actors – and there are many – and UNSMIL, to address the legal loopholes and technical shortcomings in the draft electoral laws prepared by the 6+6 Committee of the two Chambers.
Secondly, to explore the possibility of convening a meeting of the main stakeholders or their representatives to reach a political agreement on the four main politically contested issues outlined during my last briefing to this Council.
And, thirdly, to sustain dialogue among the security and military actors to cultivate a security environment that enables progress on the elections and sustainable stability for the country,” said Bathily.
Moreover, he revealed that he intensified consultations with the President of the Presidential Council, the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity, the Heads of the House of Representatives and High State Council, and the Commander of the Libyan National Army.
“I shared written proposals to address the technical flaws and contested aspects of the draft electoral laws,” he stated, adding that “all Libyan leaders have agreed in principle to the amendment of these drafts.”
“I urge the two chambers and the 6+6 Committee to resume work and finalize the electoral laws to make them implementable so as to draw a reasonable timeline for elections.”
“I am working with the President of the Presidential Council, Mohammad Menfi, to explore jointly convening Libyan-led and UNSMIL-facilitated negotiations between Libya’s main political and institutional leaders. In parallel, I have broached the subject with House of Representatives Speaker Agila Saleh, the then High State Council President Khaled Mishri, Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, and LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar.”
“Although significant resistance to holding a face-to-face meeting persists on the part of certain actors who wish to maintain the status quo, steps are being taken. In this regard, Presidential Council President Menfi informed me three days ago of his meeting in Benghazi, with HoR Speaker Agila Saleh and LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar, to explore concrete progress on the political track.”
He added that efforts to put in place a Libyan-owned mechanism for transparent management of public funds have finally yielded a positive result.
He welcomed the Presidential Council’s decision last month to create a High Financial Management Committee tasked with overseeing public finances and promoting fairness, accountability, and transparency in public spending.
He also said that Central Bank Governor Siddiq El-Kabir stated on August 20 that the reunification of the Central Bank of Libya as a sovereign Libyan institution has been finalized.
“Both the establishment of the High Financial Committee and the positive steps towards the reunification of the Central Bank give us cautious optimism that, with political will, Libyan stakeholders can come together, in an inclusive manner, to address issues of common concern for the greater good of the nation,” Bathily told Council members.
He also stressed that “armed groups and security actors, who commit violence against civilians, must be held accountable.”
He further remarked on the ongoing discussions on the “dynamics hampering tangible progress in the full implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, the reunification of the military institutions, and the withdrawal of foreign forces, foreign fighters, and mercenaries.”
“Once again, it is essential that all parties preserve the security gains achieved in recent years,” he added.
Bathily went on to say that “upholding Libya’s stability is even more critical now in light of the recent clashes in Tripoli, the regional turmoil in Sudan and Niger and the combats that took place in Tibesti region, in the south, a few days ago, between the Chadian Army and armed elements.”
“Without an inclusive political agreement that paves the way for peaceful, inclusive, and transparent elections across Libya, the situation will worsen and cause further suffering to the Libyan people.”