Delegates will meet online next week to agree a selection mechanism for a government to oversee the polls.
Talks on Libya’s future have been suspended without appointing a new government to oversee the transition to possible elections next year.
Stephanie Williams, the United Nations envoy for Libya, said on Sunday that she was “very pleased with the outcome” of talks with 75 delegates selected by the United Nations to meet in Tunis after they agreed to To hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24 of the year.
“The majority in the room doesn’t want the status quo,” Williams said at a press conference after the talks were over.
“This is not an acceptable alternative. It’s not sustainable; everyone recognizes that. The harsh summer that many Libyans went through – without electricity and with very little water and all the other needs and that [coronavirus] Pandemic – was really a wake up call. “
The UN envoy said there was still much to be done and delegates would resume online talks next week to discuss a reformed structure and role of the executive body.
They will also discuss the question of a constitutional basis for the election.
“We agreed to have a virtual meeting in about a week [to] agree on the selection mechanism for the upcoming agency, ”Williams told journalists.
However, at the meetings in the capital of neighboring Tunisia, she said that “no names … were discussed”.
She added, “Ten years of conflict cannot be resolved in one week.”
Acting UN Envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams speaks during a press conference in the Tunisian capital Tunis on November 15, 2020 after seven days of talks hosted by the United Nations on the Libyan conflict [Fethi Belaid/ AFP]The talks are taking place as part of a broader peace process along with a military ceasefire agreed between the two main sides of the war: the internationally recognized Government of the National Agreement (GNA) and the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar.
However, many Libyans are skeptical of a process that came after nearly a decade of chaos and bloodshed and reiterated previous efforts to resolve the country’s divisions.
Observers have criticized the way delegates were selected for the Tunis talks and expressed doubts about their effectiveness in a country where two administrations, as well as a number of armed groups and foreign powers, are already vying for power.
Since 2014, the country has been divided between rival factions based in Tripoli, the seat of the GNA, and eastern Libya, where the LNA is based.
The GNA emerged from a political agreement supported by the United Nations in 2015, but was spurned by Eastern factions. Last year, Haftar launched an LNA offensive against Tripoli, which the GNA, with the support of Turkey, rejected in June.
The LNA is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt.
Jalel Harchaoui, a Libyan specialist at the Clingersael Institute in The Hague, warned that foreign interests could easily ruin the process.
“The greatest difficulty facing the United Nations is that there are permanent Turkish and Russian military bases and Emirati officers on the ground,” he told AFP.
Harchaoui noted that in order to hire an interim executive, “there must be names for each of the senior posts”.
“Until this step is completed,” he said, “a deal won’t lead to anything concrete.”