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

UN Special Envoy resigned due to political deadlock; disputes over financial control continued as Russia delivered military materiel to eastern forces.

UN head of mission resigned amid ongoing political deadlock. UN Special Representative for Libya Abdoulaye Bathily 16 April resigned citing entrenched resistance among Libyan leaders and no appetite for negotiations or reunification among rival govts and military coalitions; Bathily also blamed international actors for meddling and attempting to carve out influence. Meanwhile, High National Elections Commission 16 April issued statement affirming readiness to conduct municipal and general elections, although notable gaps in electoral laws remained that would likely hamper any vote. 

Rival govts sparred over financial challenges. Tripoli-based Finance Ministry 9 April issued statement blaming current liquidity crisis on parallel spending by eastern authorities, accusing them of relying on counterfeit currency. Meanwhile, east-based House of Representatives 30 April passed 2024 budget for its govt amid uncertainty over whether Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya would provide funds; earlier, eastern authorities 16 April published court order appointing guardianship committee over Libyan Investment Authority funds and accused Tripoli-based govt of “financial abuses, violation and embezzlement”. 

Russian equipment arrived in east. Russian navy vessels reportedly delivered armoured personnel carriers and rocket launchers to eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar-led forces; social media 14 April showed shipments unloaded in eastern port of Tobruk, marking Russia’s first openly conducted delivery of military material using navy vessel. Meanwhile, in continued insecurity, judicial police reportedly linked to armed group clashed with Stability Support Authority militia members in capital Tripoli 11 April, with no casualties reported. Tripoli govt 13 April dispatched members of Law Enforcement Administration to oversee maintenance work at Ras al-Jedir crossing with Tunisia, but border point remained closed amid unresolved disputes over who will manage security. Political activist Seraj Daghman reported dead in prison south east of Benghazi city 19 April, with some reports suggesting he may have been executed. 

In other important developments. Algerian, Libyan and Tunisian heads of state 22 April held high-level discussions in Tunisian capital Tunis over stronger regional integration (see Algeria).

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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 Ian 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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