June 20, 2024

Biden administration ‘deeply concerned’ by outbreak of violence in Libya ahead of December 24 elections

Newly appointed Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabeiba addresses members of the Libyan House of Representatives
Newly appointed Libyan Prime Minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah addresses the Libyan parliament a day before his his cabinet secured a vote of confidence from the body

The Biden administration said on Friday that it remains “deeply concerned” by the outbreak of violence in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, ahead of December 24 planned elections.

“We are deeply concerned by the outbreak of violence in Tripoli. This return to hostilities threatens the progress made since the October 23 ceasefire agreement,” Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Senior U.S. Advisor for Special Political Affairs, said in Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Libya in New York City.

According to him, the people of Libya deserve a sovereign, stable, unified country with no foreign interference, and a state that is capable of combating terrorism within its borders.

“That progress is critical for regional security. And it is necessary for the people of Libya,” DeLaurentis said.

For that progress to happen, he said, national elections must be held in December.

“So, the parties need to agree on a constitutional and legal framework for elections – urgently. Fortunately, the Special Envoy’s report indicates that this work is progressing. We urge maximum efforts to consult and secure broad consensus,” he said.

DeLaurentis said the way out of the current quagmire is for the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum to resist “polarization and cynical politicking,” while the House of Representatives must adopt “the necessary constitutional and legislative arrangements straight away.”

“Unfortunately, the foreign forces and mercenaries that remain in Libya embolden those who obstruct progress towards free and fair elections,” he said. “These forces remain despite the ceasefire agreement, which was endorsed by this Council. And arms continue to flow into the country, despite a Security Council-imposed arms embargo.”

DeLaurentis called on the United Nations Security Council to “live by its words,” and support “the implementation of – and abide by – the ceasefire agreement and facilitate the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay.”

“Those who obstruct or undermine the successful completion of Libya’s political transition may be subject to sanctions,” he said.

DeLaurentis said some countries have imported weapons and armed personnel to Haftar-aligned forces in violation of the arms embargo, and that others have done similarly for the Government of Libya and aligned forces.

“These actions fuel conflict. They threaten stability. And they prolong the suffering of the Libyan people. It’s time for them to end,” he said.

“We also welcome the Panel’s investigation into potential violations of the travel ban and assets freeze. This includes most recently their investigation into allegations that Saadi Qadhafi departed Libya, without any prior notification or exemption from the Committee,” the American diplomat added.

DeLaurentis said human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties in Libya are “unacceptable.”

“We are disturbed in particular by reports of arbitrary detention of politicians and government officials, human rights defenders, and migrants,” he said, calling on authorities to desist from arbitrary arrests and abide by Libya’s international obligations.

“Everyone is guaranteed a fair trial. Detainees – including vulnerable migrants and refugees – cannot be treated inhumanely. Migrants and refugees are afforded protections under international humanitarian law and those must be enforced. And authorities must facilitate the swift and orderly closure of migrant detention facilities,” DeLaurentis said.

He said the United States is pleased that “the UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission members were recently able to visit Tripoli. We hope their important work in support of a durable political agreement can continue.”

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