UN Libya Envoy Condemns Derna Terror Pockets, Calls for Elections by Year End

Published May 22nd, 2018 - 11:09 GMT
United Nations special envoy to Libya Ghassan Salameh warns that the tribal clashes in the country could spiral into a regional conflict. (AFP/ File Photo)
United Nations special envoy to Libya Ghassan Salameh warns that the tribal clashes in the country could spiral into a regional conflict. (AFP/ File Photo)
United Nations special envoy to Libya Ghassan Salameh reiterated on Monday his call to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in the war-torn country before the end of the year.

Speaking at the UN Security Council, he drew a bleak image of the political and military situation in Libya, calling for an end to the fighting in the eastern city of Derna.

The Libyan National Army has been waging a military campaign in Derna to liberate it from the last remaining terrorist pockets in the East. The offensive has been opposed and condemned by the national accord government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
 

Salameh warned of a possible military intervention in Derna, saying that all options were on the table.

Turning to the South, the UN official warned that tribal clashes there could spiral into a regional conflict, voicing his readiness to sponsor negotiations between Libya and its neighbors to address the situation and halt the flow of migrants.

On the elections, he hoped that they would be held as soon as possible, remarking, however, that the necessary conditions should be available to stage them.

The UN has been pushing for holding the polls before the end of the year.

Moreover, Salameh warned that Libyan points of view were becoming “radically” divided over a plan to draft a new constitution. He explained that some sides advocate holding a direct referendum, while others are demanding that amendments be introduced to the draft. Others, meanwhile, are calling for a return to the old constitution.

France’s permanent Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre described the current situation in Libya as “unacceptable,” underlining the need to respect the will of the people who support elections.

United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared that Libyan leaders must participate in the electoral process and respect the will of the people.

On the ground, the official government spokesman revealed that preparations are underway to form a military force to protect the southern region. It will be tasked with resolving conflicts, protecting the border and countering terrorism and smuggling networks.

Meanwhile, Algeria hosted on Monday a tripartite meeting that brought together the foreign ministers of the countries bordering Libya: Egypt and Tunisia, in order to address the situation in the North African nation.
 
This article has been adapted from its original source.
 

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