SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 22 September 2021, Wednesday |

EU’s top diplomat says bloc ‘ready to do more’ to help in Libya elections

The European Union chief diplomat Josep Borrell said Wednesday in Tripoli that bloc is “ready to put more efforts” to help Libya organize elections planned for December.

But “there is no time to lose to approve the necessary legislation, go to the parliament, and start the necessary preparations” for the December 24 vote, Borrell said at a news conference with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush.

Borrell singled out “reform of the security area” as one field where Brussels could help, following its disintegration and replacement with a patchwork of militias and armed groups since the toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The oil-rich country split between two rival administrations backed by foreign powers and myriad militias.

But after eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces were routed from the country’s west last year, the two camps signed a ceasefire in Geneva in October and an interim government was established earlier this year to lead Libya towards polls.

The absence of a constitutional framework, however, has called the vote into question as tensions resurface.

Mangoush last month refused to rule out delaying the elections if parliament took too long to pass the necessary legislation.

While hailing “much progress” over the past year, Borrell warned that “time is flying” in which to put the rules in place, with only 105 days remaining.

“Now it is time to implement and consolidate this progress,” he said.

Mangoush said Tripoli also wanted “more cooperation with the EU” on elections and “managing the porous southern borders.”