UN re­news Libya mis­sion, de­lays vote in­def­i­nitely

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (UNSC) has ex­tended the man­date for the UNSMIL mis­sion in Libya by an­other year, un­til Septem­ber 15, 2019, but did not en­dorse a De­cem­ber

10 date for elec­tions that were agreed to in a Paris meet­ing four months ago.

France stuck to its po­si­tion push­ing for elec­tions in Libya by the end of the year on Thurs­day, a day af­ter Italy and the UN-backed gov­ern­ment in Tripoli sowed doubts on the elec­toral cal­en­dar, cit­ing a wors­en­ing se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion.

The coun­cil unan­i­mously adopted a Bri­tish-drafted res­o­lu­tion that called for par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions to be held “as soon as pos­si­ble, pro­vided the nec­es­sary se­cu­rity, tech­ni­cal, leg­isla­tive and po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions are in place”.

Four key lead­ers from Libya had agreed in May to hold the land­mark polls on De­cem­ber

10 as part of a French-led plan to sta­bi­lize the war-torn North African coun­try, de­spite on­go­ing vi­o­lence and deep di­vi­sions.

For­mer colo­nial power Italy, how­ever, has con­sis­tently main­tained the North African coun­try is not ready for elec­tions and of­fered in­stead to host a na­tional di­a­logue con­fer­ence in Rome later this year.

Jonathan Co­hen, the United States Deputy Am­bas­sador to the UN, warned dur­ing a coun­cil meet­ing last week that “im­pos­ing false dead­lines will back­fire” and lead to worse di­vi­sions in­side Libya.

On Wed­nes­day, Prime Min­is­ter Fayez Ser­raj, who had agreed to the plan, said con­di­tions in his coun­try were too un­sta­ble to hold elec­tions.

Those com­ments were echoed by Italy’s For­eign Min­is­ter Enzo Moavero Mi­lanesi who was quoted by a state news agency as say­ing the date should be re­con­sid­ered.

“We are in dis­agree­ment with the po­si­tion of the French gov­ern­ment, which, as was de­cided in Paris, says the elec­tions in Libya must be held on De­cem­ber 10,” he said.

In re­sponse to those doubts, France’s for­eign min­istry said it was con­vinced of the need for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion based on the Paris agree­ments.

“France will con­tinue with its part­ners to sup­port the ef­forts of the Libyan au­thor­i­ties and the United Na­tions to en­sure the con­tin­u­a­tion of the po­lit­i­cal process and in par­tic­u­lar the con­di­tions for hold­ing elec­tions by the end of the year,” spokes­woman Agnes von der Muhll told re­porters in a daily brief­ing.

Italy has close re­la­tions with the au­thor­i­ties in Tripoli and is the only Western coun­try to have re­opened its embassy in the Libyan cap­i­tal, home to Ser­raj’s UN-backed tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment.

France is seen as closer to mil­i­tary Com­man­der Khal­ifa Haf­tar, who is aligned with a ri­val gov­ern­ment based in the east.

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