UN envoy to Libya hails ‘successful’ talks in Ankara, discusses elections


The UN secretary-general’s special adviser on Libya, Stephanie Williams, spoke with Turkish officials in Ankara about the latest situation in the North African country and the road to elections there, which she says could take place before June.

“There is a roadmap decided by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. This is a road map until June of this year. I think it is quite possible that the elections will take place during this period,” Williams told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Indicating that the past month has seen several positive developments, Williams said two meetings took place “on the unification of the military establishment between the chiefs of staff between eastern and western Libya”. and that they saw a movement towards the unification of the Central Bank.

“Currently, I don’t see any will from the Libyans to go back to war,” the envoy added, saying that calm was being preserved on the ground.

She met on Friday with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and Special Envoy Can Dizdar.

“We compared our notes on political developments in Libya, the electoral process and options moving forward,” Williams said.

The UN envoy noted that the officials agreed during the talks “on the importance of coherent and inclusive regional and international support for Libya that builds on the progress of the ongoing intra-Libyan dialogue”. .

They also “insisted on the need to strengthen the spirit of compromise between Libyan actors for the collective good of the country”, she added.

Williams said Turkey contributed to the UN by bringing the Libyans together.

Turkey and Libya have enjoyed closer ties in recent years, especially after the signing of security and maritime border pacts in November 2019 and Turkey’s assistance to help the legitimate Libyan government push back the coup forces of the General Khalifa Haftar.

Speaking on the election, Williams pointed out that there is no dominant opinion among Libyans, but rather a wide range of differing opinions, which poses challenges.

“There are those who say that we need a constitutional basis for the elections to continue. There are those who want the draft constitution to be put to a referendum. There are those who want the list of presidential candidates to undergo some kind of judicial review in order to unblock the blockage and go directly to the elections. There are those who want to elect a deputy.

“However,” she said, “there is a willingness among the Libyan parties to negotiate.”

“If there is a will, there is a path for the Libyans.”

Libya’s House of Representatives in December deemed the vote, intended to end years of conflict in the North African nation, “impossible” to hold in time.

The poll was due to take place just over a year after a historic East-West ceasefire in a country that has been ravaged by a decade of conflict since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

But preparations for the country’s first-ever presidential election have been overshadowed by heated wrangling over its legality and the candidacies of several controversial figures, including Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi.

One of the points of contention was a presidential election law controversially passed by Speaker of Parliament Aguila Saleh, which critics say circumvented due process and favored his ally, Haftar.

The law was strongly opposed by factions in western Libya, where Haftar had fought a year-long battle to seize Tripoli.

The electoral council has suggested pushing back the vote by a month to January 24, but given the enmity between the eastern-based parliament and authorities in Tripoli, agreeing a new date will be far from easy.

Williams further clarified that Libya has been in a period of transition since 2011 and needs permanent institutions.

“It needs democratically elected institutions. Institutions that are united, that can provide the necessary security to the people, that can secure the borders of the country and that can serve the people,” she added, saying the best way to do that is for the people Libyan goes to the polls.

Assessing whether it would make sense to establish a transitional government for the elections, Williams said he should focus on the electoral process.

“Libya has had five transition periods. Five transitional leaders. I don’t think the solution is necessarily another transitional leader. I think the cure is a strong political horizon that leads to elections for an elected government, an elected president and of course a more permanent situation with a solid legal and constitutional basis.

Sabah’s daily newsletter

Keep up to date with what is happening in Turkey, in its region and in the world.

You can unsubscribe anytime. By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Comments are closed.