22 Jun 2021
The EU has warned that anyone judged to be delaying elections in Libya beyond the planned date of 24 December will be at risk of sanctions, ahead of an important meeting of foreign ministers intended to tighten the screw on those obstructing either elections or the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.
The meeting in Berlin will set our proposals for a coordinated and sequential withdrawal of foreign forces, principally Russian and Turkish, and again call for elections at the end of the year. Previous deadlines for the withdrawal of foreign forces have been ignored.
The United Nations has also set in train plans for a meeting in Geneva next week of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum to agree the basis for the elections. Some in Libya’s current parliament have been blocking elections, or demanding a referendum on any new Libyan constitution before the elections, now seen by most European powers as a delaying tactic.
The Berlin conference will be attended by the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and is a follow-up of a meeting in December 2020 that out set a detailed roadmap for Libya to take the country towards democracy and end 10 years of civil war.
A new government of national unity spanning the east and west of the country, was established in February, but an array of political actors since have paid lip service to holding elections in December while privately seeking a delay. Many in the current political class, described as Libya’s oligarchs by their critics, fear the loss of power, and cash, any elections would entail.
The conference has been called on to do more to protect human rights in the country and to hold to account those breaching the UN arms embargo, including some countries that attended the first conference, by the group Lawyers for Justice in Libya. It also warned rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association needed to be protected for free elections to take place.
By Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 21 June 2021
Read more at The Guardian
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