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Germany and other world powers pushed on Wednesday at the UN General Assembly for Libya’s planned elections to go ahead in December amid a political crisis in the North African country that threatens to upend the vote and hopes of an end to a decade-long conflict.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas co-led a high-level meeting on Libya on the sidelines of the UNGA focused on the December 24 elections that were part of the country’s peace process.
“The international community expects Libyan officials in Tripoli and the rest of the country to work for presidential and legislative elections to take place as scheduled on December 24,” Mr Maas told the UN gathering.
“We need to step up international pressure and support those who are preparing the elections.”
The foreign minister of Germany, which has played a leading role in diplomacy to end Libya's civil war, also called for renewed efforts to remove the tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries that have poured into Libya during the conflict.
Libya's lower house of Parliament, meeting in the eastern city of Tobruk on Tuesday, passed a vote of no-confidence in the unity government that took over in a UN-led peace process that has managed to ease tension after 10 years of war.
The upper house rejected the resolution but the showdown raised renewed questions about whether the country, deeply divided by regional and tribal differences, can hold the elections set by the peace process.
France, Germany and Italy will co-host an international conference on Libya on November 12 aimed at ensuring the electoral calendar remains in place, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said this week.
Libya has had little peace since the 2011 Nato-backed uprising overthrew long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The country split in 2014 between warring eastern and western factions.
However, both sides agreed to a ceasefire last year and a new unity government was installed in March to prepare for national elections in December, moves seen as the best chance for peace in years.