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Libya on a Precipice

Members of the Libyan armed unit, 444 Brigade, backing the Government of National Unity and its Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, set up a checkpoint as smoke rises in the background in Ain Zara area in Tripoli, Libya. (File)

“Libya is on a precipice,” declared Ambassador DeLaurentis. “We call on all parties in Libya to refrain from violence.”

Libya on a Precipice
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The political deadlock between rival centers of power in Libya erupted in deadly violence in August, with competing militias firing on one another in Tripoli before a tense calm was restored.

The violence broke out on August 27, leaving at least 30 people dead and some 170 people injured, according to Libyan authorities. Tensions between rival political camps have been simmering in the country after the failure to hold long-awaited elections last December. Since then, political leaders in the country have been unable to agree on a clear roadmap to elections.

As Secretary of State Blinken stated on September 3, “The outbreak of violence in Tripoli...underscored the unsustainability of the situation in Libya, making clear the need for all sides to work in good faith and with a sense of urgency to reach agreement on a constitutional framework and concrete timeline for elections.” And to that end, the United States welcomes the appointment of Abdoulaye Bathily as the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Libya. The United States will provide full support to Special Representative Bathily, and we call upon the international community to work in lockstep with him as he mediates the Libya-led political process.

At a United Nations Security Council briefing, U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs, called the recent violence “the outcome of Libya’s political leaders’ abject failure to place the common good above their political interests and to work towards long-term peace and stability for the Libyan people.”

He warned that the people “are losing hope that Libya’s leaders…can achieve agreement on a constitutional framework for elections to allow Libyans their rightful opportunity to select their leaders peacefully.” He noted that the people are deprived of basic public services while the powerful cut deals dividing up the country’s oil revenues, thereby “robbing the Libyan people of their national wealth.”

“Libya is on a precipice,” declared Ambassador DeLaurentis. “We call on all parties in Libya to refrain from violence. . . We call on those outside Libya who have encouraged violence through political, financial, and military support to cease their interference and respect the arms embargo. We call on all parties to turn away from the path to war and to work together towards peace and stability.”