Libya

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

Political deadlock continued as parallel govts engaged internationally; corruption and insecurity persisted. 

Outgoing UN envoy decried stalemate amid Western officials’ visits to parallel govts. Abdoulaye Bathily, who resigned as head of UN mission in April, 14 May said Libyan leaders not interested in stabilising country or holding elections and had “fuelled rivalries” among armed groups to maintain status quo. However, deputy UN special representative Stephanie Koury 21 May launched new discussions with Libyan officials. Meanwhile, parallel administrations both engaged with Western officials. Tripoli-based PM Dabaiba 15 May met EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels to discuss migration issues and renewable energy, while earlier in month, Italian PM Giorgia Meloni 7 May visited Tripoli to sign agreements including on education and health; Meloni later same day met with eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, whose entourage also received visits from other international officials including from EU and U.S.; engagement with Haftar occurred amid his growing military cooperation with Russia and proposal for Russian-built oil refinery in east announced 18 May. 

IMF noted positive economic prospects despite need for public sector reform. International Monetary Fund’s monitoring mission to Libya 13 May estimated GDP to grow by 8% in 2024 thanks to rise in oil exports, despite lack of budgeting accountability and high public sector wages and subsidies; IMF urged authorities to adopt governance reforms to fight corruption and called for reunification of central bank. Meanwhile, court 12 May ordered arrest of four customs officials accused of “conspiring to smuggle” 26 tonnes of gold worth over $1.8bn through Misrata airport in Dec 2023.

Insecurity persisted. Members of Stability Support Authority and First Support Force armed groups 18 May clashed in Al-Zawiya city, west of Tripoli, killing one and injuring six others. Benghazi MP Ibrahim al-Dressi went missing 16 May amid concerns he may have been kidnapped and calls for his immediate release.

In another important development. Interior ministers of Algeria, Libya and Tunisia 2 May met Italian counterpart Matteo Piantedosi as part of new three-party grouping (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 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

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Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
Claudia Gazzini

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