Libya deprived from voting in the UN General Assembly over non-payment

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Libya has been suspended from voting at the United Nations General Assembly over non-payment of membership fees.

The Libya Herald reported on Thursday that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written to the General Assembly and said that Libya must pay a minimum of $1,369,638 to regain its voting rights.

Article 19 of the UN Charter states that members are deprived of the right to vote “if the amount of … arrears equals or exceeds the amount of contributions due … for the preceding two full years”.

Libya was one of 15 countries named as having not paid UN membership fees, but it was the only country actually banned from voting at the General Assembly.

Nine other countries – including Bahrain and Iran – have now paid up, while the remaining five – including Yemen and Somalia – were given a waiver as they were deemed unable to pay due to domestic circumstances.

The ban will only apply to the General Assembly and Libya will retain its voting rights on other UN bodies.

Under normal circumstances, Libya would have no problem paying its UN fees as it should be a wealthy country. Like the rich Gulf states, Libya possesses large oil reserves, the largest in Africa, and has a relatively small native population which numbered some five million before the 2011 revolution.

However, oil production has plummeted in the five years since the 2011 NATO-backed overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The country is currently wracked by a civil war in which rival militias are battling for supremacy, while two rival parliaments have created a political vacuum in which the Islamic State has emerged as an increasingly potent security threat.

A UN-brokered peace agreement was due to see a unity government established in January but neither parliament has backed the deal, leaving the country in a spiralling state of chaos.

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