UNSMIL warns that political tensions should be resolved through dialogue

By Sami Zaptia.

London, 22 December 2021:

UNSMIL warned yesterday that political tensions in Libya should be resolved through dialogue. This came after state recognized but not controlled military groups (militias) started to build up on the outskirts of Tripoli with other forces conducting manoeuvres in Misrata and Zawia.

The tensions were caused by the approach of the planned election day of 24 December 2021 and the likelihood that elections would be postponed or cancelled. They have since been postponed until 24 January next year – an unlikely date given Libya’s past political history.

The militias had gathered for two main opposing reasons. One set was in support of the elections and against the Aldabaiba Government of National Unity continuing in office. The other were opposed to elections and wanted the Aldabaiba government to continue in office.

UNSMIL had said it was ‘‘concerned about the unfolding security situation in Tripoli. The current mobilization of forces affiliated with different groups creates tensions and increases the risk of clashes that could spiral into conflict. Any disagreements on emerging political or military matters should be resolved through dialogue, particularly at this stage when the country is navigating through a difficult and complex electoral process that should usher in a peaceful transition.

The developments in Tripoli do not bode well for the ongoing efforts to maintain stability and establish security and political conditions conducive to peaceful, credible, inclusive, free, and fair elections. They also could undermine the security gains Libya has so far realized which gave confidence to high-level officials from around the world to come to Tripoli to participate in the very successful Libya Stabilization Conference in October.

The Mission calls on all Libyan actors to exercise restraint at this delicate moment and to work together to create a security and political atmosphere that preserves Libya’s progress and enables peaceful elections and a successful transition. The Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Libya, Ms. Stephanie Williams, is currently engaging Libyan stakeholders to facilitate the achievement of this goal.’’

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