UN is back to Tripoli. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Libya and Head of the UNSMIL …


UN is back to Tripoli

UN is back to Tripoli. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Libya and Head of the UNSMIL (United Nations Support Mission in Libya) arrived on April 17th in an effort to back the Libya Unity government headed by prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj.


UN envoy Martin Kobler announced on Sunday the return of his staff in Tripoli.

The UN staff had left the violence-torn country in mid-2014, three years after Libya sank into chaos following the popular uprising that led to the overthrow of late Muammar Gaddafi. Said arrival happened on the eve of a vote by the recognised parliament on the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), supported by the international community in order to put an end to the turmoil that has been shaking this North African country for more than three years.

“The UN staff will be in Tripoli five days a week... I am not visiting Tripoli any more, I am working out of Tripoli,” as Kobler put it during a joint news conference with Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy head of a UN-backed unity government.

For his part, Maiteeq underlined that the GNA would take control of three ministries from Monday, “More than six ministries are ready, of which three will be handed over administratively tomorrow.” He added that the GNA would begin running the ministries of social affairs, youth and sports, and housing and public works from Monday, regardless of the results of the vote of confidence. “The legislative authorities must quickly give the GNA its legitimacy through the House of Representatives in order for it to serve the Libyan people”. Considered as being an essential move for the unity government, this initiative should “endorse the GNA in order to save the Libyan people from all the problems”.

The unity government is supposed to replace the two rival sets of governments and parliaments in Tripoli and the east, established after the overthrew of late Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Sarraj's government was formed under a power-sharing deal agreed in December which the UN and some lawmakers from both sides have backed.

Whereas the unity cabinet has been gaining support from local officials and state institutions, the head of the Tripoli-based administration, Khalifa Ghweil, has refused to recognise its authority. The Tobruk’s recognition which is still expected has been long in coming.

The UN envoy’s visit comes after a flurry of diplomatic trips aiming at supporting the unity government, including a visit on Saturday by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The International community does consider the GNA as being a crucial partner in the fight against terrorism and that of human traffickers who are taking advantage of the country's turmoil.

Clashes since Sarraj's arrival broke out several hours after the ministers' visit, but had calmed down by early Sunday. The cause of said clashes and their consequences are currently unknown.


(With AFP)