UN to ignore elections and adopt economic reforms, armed groups’ reconciliation in Libya

 UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame (Photo: Archive)

Diplomats and other sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the United Nations and Western powers have given up hope that Libya will hold elections in the immediate future, focusing on reconciliation first among rival factions locked in a cycle of conflict in the country. 

“Shelving the plans for presidential and parliamentary elections is the latest setback for Western powers in Libya.” Reuters explained.

The sources added that instead of pushing for a vote as a short-term goal, UN delegate Ghassan Salame will focus in a briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday on staging a national conference next year and fixing the economy.

“The national conference would aim to forge consensus in a country divided between hundreds of armed groups controlling mostly minimal territory, towns, tribes and regions.” The sources told Reuters.

Salame will also push again for economic reforms to end a system benefiting armed groups that have access to cheap dollars due to their power over banks.

Diplomats indicated that delayed reforms introduced in Tripoli in September, including a fee on purchases of foreign currency, can only partially ease Libya’s economic woes as long as the central bank remains divided and predatory factions retain their positions.

For the militias, the sources told Reuters that Salame would outline a new “security arrangement” for Tripoli aimed at depriving them of control of key sites and integrating their members into regular forces.

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