Libya talks end without naming a Middle East transitional government


Discussions over Libya’s future have been adjourned without appointing a new government to oversee a transition to possible elections next year.But Stephanie Williams, the UN envoy to Libya, said on Sunday she was “very pleased with the outcome” of talks with 75 delegates selected by the UN to meet in Tunis after agreeing to hold presidential elections. and parliamentarians on December 24th. year.

“The majority in the room don’t want the status quo,” Williams said at a press conference after the talks ended.

“It is not an acceptable alternative. It is not sustainable; everyone recognizes it. The difficult summer that many Libyans have been through – with no electricity, and very little water and all the other hardships and [coronavirus] pandemic – was truly a wake-up call.

The UN envoy said there was still a lot of work to be done and delegates would resume online discussions next week to discuss a reformed structure and role for the executive branch.

They will also discuss the issue of a constitutional basis for the election.

“We have agreed to meet again in about a week in a virtual meeting [to] agree on the mechanism for selecting the authority to come, ”Williams told reporters.

But she said “no name … has been discussed” at meetings in the capital of neighboring Tunisia.

She added: “Ten years of conflict cannot be resolved in a week.”

UN Interim Envoy to Libya Stephanie Williams speaks at a press conference in the Tunisian capital Tunis on November 15, 2020, after seven days of UN-organized talks on the Libyan conflict [Fethi Belaid/ AFP]

The talks are part of a broader process of peacemaking and a military ceasefire agreed between the two main parties to the war: the internationally recognized government of national accord (GNA) and the so-called Libyan National Army (ANL) of Khalifa Haftar.

However, many Libyans are skeptical of a process that followed nearly a decade of chaos and bloodshed and previous repeated efforts to resolve the country’s divisions.

Observers have criticized the way delegates were chosen for the Tunis talks and cast doubts on their influence in a country where two administrations, as well as a range of armed groups and foreign powers, are already vying for power.

Since 2014, the country has been divided between rival factions based in Tripoli, headquarters of the GNA, and in eastern Libya, where the ANL is based.

The GNA emerged from a political agreement backed by the UN in 2015, but was rejected by eastern factions. Last year, Haftar launched an LNA offensive on Tripoli which the GNA repelled in June with Turkish backing.

The LNA is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt.

Jalel Harchaoui, a specialist on Libya at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, warned that foreign interests could easily derail the process.

“The biggest difficulty for the UN is that there are permanent Turkish and Russian military bases and Emirati officers on the ground,” he told AFP news agency.

Harchaoui noted that for an interim executive to be accepted, “there must be names for each of the main positions.”

“Until this step is taken,” he said, “an agreement will not lead to anything concrete.”


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