UN chief urges all parties to preserve stability in Libya

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations. /VCG
Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations. /VCG

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged all parties in Libya to continue to preserve stability.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the UN chief called on “all parties to continue to preserve stability in Libya as a top priority.”

The UN chief is “following closely” the latest political crisis unfolding in Libya, which threatens to return the country to a stand-off position between two rival authorities, following the failure to hold presidential elections in December.

The top UN official said he took note of the vote taken on Thursday, by the country’s eastern-based House of Representatives, to designate a new prime minister.

According to news reports, parliamentarians voted to put a new interim government in place, over the objections of the internationally recognized prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who said that he would not step down, calling the decision illegitimate.

The development could reportedly once more see two rival administrations vying for overall authority, with the UN-backed government and institutions based in the capital Tripoli, while a new parliament-backed authority establishes itself under the leadership of former interior minister, Fathi Bashagha.

Following the overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, oil-rich Libya descended into rival factions and bloody conflict.

UN-brokered negotiations toward lasting peace and a new democratic constitution saw major progress a year ago toward unifying the country through the UN-led and inclusive Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.

The secretary-general noted that parliamentarians adopted a constitutional amendment that lays out a “road map” for revising the 2017 constitutional draft, on which no consensus has been reached.

“The secretary-general calls on all parties and institutions to continue to ensure that such critical decisions are taken in a transparent and consensual manner,” the statement added.