Monday, May 20

US Amb.: Libyan Leaders Must Make Compromises to Hold Elections on Time

Tripoli_ The United States seems to be exerting an increasing pressure on Libyan leaders to hold the general presidential and parliamentary elections on schedule on 24 December this year as the time to do so is running out very quickly.  

A visit by the US Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, on July 26 underlined such urgency by demanding these leaders meet their obligations to hold the elections on time. What is in stake, however, insofar as the Libyan people are concerned is the credibility of the United States and the Biden Administration which vowed since early this year that it would bring the ongoing crisis in the country to an end.

A statement released by the US Embassy in Libya on the same day said that Ambassador Norland during a meeting with interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba “underscored the need for Libya’s leaders to make key preparations to ensure successful nationwide elections in December, including determining a constitutional basis and the election law that will govern them.”

The Ambassador, who also attended a signing ceremony for a new 5G telecommunications contract between Libyan company Hatif and US company Infinera, “emphasized that Libya’s leaders must make the necessary compromises to meet the Libyan peoples’ expectation of free and fair elections, an essential step towards a stable, unified, and democratic Libya,” the statement said. 

But the efforts by Mr. Norland, and those calls of the Second Berlin Conference and the UN Security Council, to speed up the process seem to have failed to move various Libyan political factions toward that objective. The intransigence of some Libya leaders, and their disregard of these efforts and calls, have made experts and observers of the situation in Libya, and the public alike, deeply concerned and disappointed as to the seriousness and resolve of the world community led by the US to bringing an end to the Libyan problem.

A day later, Parliament Speaker, Aguila Saleh, warned that Libya will return to square one and the to the post-2011 conflicts if the elections were postponed.  Speaking to Reuters, Saleh warned of the possibility of the emergence of a new parallel government in the east if the elections scheduled for December 24, 2021 were postponed.

Saleh also accused the Government of National Unity (GNU) led by Abdulhamid Dabaiba of failing to unify the Libyan institutions, stressing that it had turned into a Tripoli’s government instead of a Libya’s government, calling on it to fulfill its obligations as national unity government.

US Amb. Norland meets with HCS chairman Khaled Mishri

Norland met during his visit with the Chairman of the High Council of State Khaled Mishri and “encouraged him, like all Libyan political Leaders, to reach an early compromise on the legal basis for elections,” according to a tweet by the ambassador.

Mishri is considered by some observers as a hardline politician representing the Islamists in western Libya who are allegedly supported by Turkey and are seeking to postpone the elections by any means.

Meanwhile, Speaker Saleh stressed that Turkey remains a spoiler of any political settlement as it persists in violating the Libyan sovereignty by means of its illegal build-up of troops, mercenaries and armaments in the country.

During his visit, Norlad also met in Tripoli with Presidential Council members Mousa Al-Kouni and Abdullah Al-Lafi as well as with the ambassadors to Libya of Egypt, the EU, UNSMIL Coordinator.

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