The top United Nations (UN) official in conflict-torn Libya offered Friday to mediate political rivalries in a renewed bid to speed up long-delayed election plans, also warning of a possible “escalation” after the interim government takes office.
Stephanie Williams’ call came a day after the parliament based in the east African country appointed a prime minister to serve as interim prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah – a move that observers fear could lead Libya into new divisions.
Williams, special adviser to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Libya, warned in a series of tweets that “the solution to the Libyan crisis does not lie in the formation of a rival government and a prolonged transition.”
He said he had asked the east-based House of Representatives and the High Council of State (HCS), a Tripoli-based upper house, to nominate six delegates each to form a “joint committee dedicated to developing the basis of constitutional consensus”.
HCS chief Khalid al-Mishri welcomed the offer, saying the agency had “adopted a constitutional basis last September which could be used for a national consensus”.
“Yes for the election, no for an extension (of government),” he added.
The east-based parliament did not immediately issue a public response.
Williams’ proposal comes after presidential and parliamentary elections, set for December 24 as part of a UN-brokered peace process, were abandoned amid bitter disputes over the country’s constitutional and legal standing and the candidacy of several highly contested figures.
It has shattered the hopes that made the difference between them in the decade-long conflict since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Moamar Gaddafi.
Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the United States on Friday (4/3) voiced concern over the latest developments, including “reports of violence, threats of violence, intimidation and kidnapping”. [mg/pp]