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

Attempts to break political deadlock and unify state institutions continued to fail as distrust between rival authorities remained high.

Rival authorities remained at loggerheads on new unified executive and elections. Heads of rival assemblies, Aghela Saleh of eastern-based House of Representatives (HoR), and Mohamed Takala of Tripoli-based High State Council (HSC), around 8 Nov met in Egypt but failed to reach breakthrough; Saleh continued to back HoR-approved election laws and called for formation of interim unity govt, while Takala insisted that his assembly did not approve final version of laws and allegedly refused to back new govt formation. Taking stock of impasse, UN envoy Abdoulaye Bathily 23 Nov invited key stakeholders – Presidential Council, HoR, HSC, Tripoli-based govt and Libyan National Army – to attend meeting to reach settlement on outstanding issues pertaining to electoral process. Eastern-based govt of Osama Hamad immediately denounced its exclusion from UN-led talks, said Bathily has “entrenched division among Libyans” and called on UN Sec Gen António Guterres to “appoint a new UN envoy”.

Unified mechanism to lead reconstruction of flood-hit city of Derna remained elusive. Eastern-based govt headed by Osama Hamad 1-2 Nov hosted international conference for reconstruction of Derna city following September devastating floods; over 70 foreign companies and handful of diplomats attended, but Tripoli-based authorities were not invited and western diplomats, who do not recognise eastern-based govt, boycotted. UN mission (UNSMIL) continued to call for unified and coordinated mechanism for reconstruction, warning that unilateral initiatives risk deepening existing rift between rival administrations.

In other important developments. Tensions remained elevated in eastern city of Benghazi and western city of Gharyan following deadly fighting in October; separate incidents were triggered by return of two military commanders to their hometowns, and served as reminder that perceptions of hostile movement by rival forces can fuel localised violence. Meanwhile, dispute between Tripoli-based PM Abdulhamid Dabaiba and Central Bank Governor Seddiq al-Kebir early Nov reached new peak, allegedly over latter’s plan to meet eastern-based authorities; following spat, al-Kebir reportedly left Tripoli and flew out to Türkiye. Turkish Parliament 30 Nov approved extension of military mission in Libya for additional 24 months.

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In The News

13 ספט' 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 ינו' 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

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Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
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