In early 2021, Libyan politicians agreed on terms for a national unity government bringing together what had been two administrations in Tripoli and Tobruk. The accord was another step toward lasting stability following the October 2020 ceasefire between the two rival militaries. Unifying national institutions is taking time, however, and several possible pitfalls lie ahead. Through research and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to keep the national unity agreement intact and the various associated processes on track, encouraging dialogue among Libyans and vigorous engagement on the part of the UN and external powers with influence in the country.

CrisisWatch Libya

Unchanged Situation

Deadlock between rival govts continued including over economic matters, while Russia stepped up military assistance to eastern authorities. 

UN representative called out ongoing political deadlock between rival govts. Acting head of UN mission Stephanie Koury 19 June gave first briefing to UN Security Council, highlighting need for “inclusive Libyan-led process to overcome political impasse and support Libyan people” and noting “repetitive pattern” of abductions, arbitrary arrests and detentions. Despite broader political deadlock, High National Elections Commission 9 June launched voter registration process for elections in 60 municipalities due to be held sometime this year, later extending deadline to 7 July amid high voter demand to register. 

Financial management challenges persisted despite foreign mediation. U.S. Embassy in Tunis 11-12 June hosted Libya Economic Dialogue with representatives of political and financial bodies aligned with rival east and west govts, as well as World Bank, U.S. Treasury and UN; dialogue intended to facilitate agreement between parallel govts on 2024 budget, but despite participants welcoming opportunity for discussions, forum concluded without final budgetary accord. U.S. 12 June announced sanctions against Russian state currency-printing company Goznak for allegedly printing money for east-based authorities, including $1bn of “counterfeit Libyan currency”; move came amid Tripoli govt’s allegations that counterfeit money is in circulation although east-based officials continued to claim currency is legal, printed in 2020 through agreement with east-based head of Central Bank. 

Moscow’s military footprint grew. Two Russian warships 16 June arrived at eastern Tobruk Naval Base for three-day visit, during which eastern military authorities announced 250 students had been sent to Russia for training and called for closer partnership in training, maintenance, technical and logistical support and maritime security; U.S. 22 June expressed concern over Russia’s increased military activity in country. 

Govt delayed Tunisia border reopening. Libya and Tunisia 12 June signed agreement to reopen Ras al-Jedir border crossing for humanitarian and diplomatic needs, but Tripoli 24 June delayed full reopening amid presence of local militia from nearby Libyan city of Zuwara; crossing closed since March following clashes between Tripoli-based security forces and local armed groups. 

Continue reading

In The News

19 Apr 2024
The political and economic landscape in [Libya] gives the current actors very little incentive to compromise. Deutsche Welle

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
13 Sep 2023
[The] disaster that has hit Derna has really brought together the country, the people [of Libya], most importantly. The Washington Post

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
12 Jan 2023
There is a need for the UN envoy to play a more proactive role in coordinating international positions and putting pressure on Libyan actors to move the situation forward... Atalayar

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa

Latest Updates

Our People

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
Claudia Gazzini

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.