Libyan troops prepare themselves before heading to Sirte in Tripoli, Libya. File/Reuters
The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a British-drafted resolution extending its political mission in Libya for just three months, after several days of a standoff between the United States and Russia.
The UNSC voted on Monday to extend its political mission in Libya for just three months after a dispute between the West and Russia over the appointment of a new top UN envoy for the North African country, which is trying to form a united government after 10 years of turmoil.
A vote last week to extend the UN mission until Sept. 15 had been postponed at the last minute after Russia objected and circulated its own draft resolution calling for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a new special representative in a month.
The text contains no mention of the Council's hopes that presidential and legislative elections will be held soon in Libya. Initially scheduled for December 24, the presidential election was supposed to have put an end to more than 10 years of chaos and conflict, but it has been postponed indefinitely.
US Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference. File photo
Moscow, which favoured a short renewal of the UNSMIL mission, threatened to use its veto and even went as far as proposing a counter-draft to the British text last week in order to stress the need for the UN chief to appoint "without further delay" a new envoy for Libya.
The resolution adopted unanimously on Monday extends the mission until April 30 while maintaining it old mandate, making no reference to the Libyan government’s failure to hold scheduled elections on Dec. 24 or current efforts to push ahead with plans to appoint a new transitional government.
It also eliminated Russia’s call for a one-month deadline for the UN chief to appoint a new representative, saying only that the council "recognises the secretary-general’s responsibility to appoint a special envoy.”
The top UN representative in Libya became an issue after UN special representative Jan Kubis, who was based in Geneva rather than Tripoli and reportedly had close ties to Moscow, resigned suddenly in November. Guterres then appointed American diplomat Stephanie Williams, who oversaw the October 2020 cease-fire agreement in Libya, as his special adviser, which did not require Security Council approval.
In terms of international backing, Haftar enjoys the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and — now, clearly — the United States.
The US on Sunday appealed for an "immediate halt" to a military offensive by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, as fighting raged near Tripoli despite a UN call for a ceasefire.
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