UN says Libya election in 2021 to ‘unify’ country

The UN will support the planning and organisation of the elections, which will be held on the 70th anniversary of Libya’s Declaration of Independence

FILE PHOTO: Members of Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, get ready before heading out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya April 13, 2019. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo
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Libyan voters will go to the polls on 24 December 2021 to elect a president and parliamentarians, under the terms of a deal reached at United Nations-brokered peace talks in Tunisia on Friday.

The UN’s acting special envoy to the North African country, Stephanie Williams, hailed the talks as a “breakthrough” moment in efforts to end years of fighting between rival administrations.

“Reaching elections requires a new executive to unify the country,” Ms Williams told reporters Friday.

“This requires the establishment of a reformed presidency council and an effective and unified government of national unity."

The UN will support the planning and organisation of the elections, which will be held next December on the 70th anniversary of Libya’s Declaration of Independence, said Ms Williams.

Rival factions met in Tunis on Monday for six days of talks aimed at ending the war between the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

The so-called Libyan Political Dialogue Forum involving 75 interlocutors has focused on implementing a transitional government across the country of nearly 7 million people.

Military envoys from both sides have also met this week in the central Libyan coastal city of Sirte, the dividing line between the two forces, for concurrent talks.

Previous diplomatic attempts to end the conflict have failed, but an agreement for a permanent ceasefire reached in Geneva on October 23, coupled with heavy international pressure, added impetus to the latest talks.

The ceasefire deal in October allowed for the resumption of economically vital oil production and spurred progress on efforts to end years of bloodshed and political deadlock.

Many Libyans remain sceptical after previous peacemaking efforts faltered. The country has been riven by nearly a decade of chaos and bloodshed after the 2011 Nato-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.