UN envoy visits southern Libya for first time

Ghassan Salame, U.N. Libya envoy, arrives for a meeting in Tunis, Tunisia September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame on Sunday visited southern Libya for the first time since taking office in July 2017, where he met with tribal elders, academics and local activists.

Ghassan Salame

Salame confirmed that the UN Support Mission in Libya will open an office in the eastern city of Benghazi later this month while expressing the hope to open an office in the southern city Sabha this year.

“We will work hard to make security arrangements, mediate between different parties and if possible resort to sanctions if needed in various parts of Libya, specifically the south,” Salame said.

Southern Libya suffers unprecedented insecurity due to theft, killing and kidnapping of foreign workers.

Salame said that time has come to “look for alternatives” and that “there is a possible convergence between the will of the Libyans and the will of the international community to end this political stalemate.”

The UN envoy also highlighted the need to hold a national conference for the Libyans to express their desires “to be transformed by the UN Security Council and the international community into resolutions binding to those who obstruct all our efforts.”

Despite signing a UN-sponsored political agreement later in 2015 by the Libyan political factions and the appointment of a unity government, Libya remains politically divided amid insecurity and chaos.