UN envoy opposes foreign intervention in Libya

2014-08-26 17:47

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Cairo - The newly appointed UN envoy to Libya said on Tuesday he doesn't believe foreign intervention of any kind can halt the north African country's turmoil as political divisions and infighting push it deeper into chaos.

Only an inclusive political process with all Libyans represented in parliament, government and other state institutions will end the current chaos, Bernardino Leon told reporters, without describing how the elusive goal could be achieved.

Libya needs "a lot of international support" to back "Libyans who want to fight chaos ... through a political process." he said.

Libya currently has two rival parliaments in different parts of the country, and two different governments.

The Spanish diplomat spoke in Cairo on Tuesday on his final trip as a European envoy to the region. He takes up his post as the UN special envoy to Libya next month. He was in Cairo following a meeting of diplomats from Libya's neighbours where there were calls for an international push to disarm its myriads of militias.

Powerful tribal and regional allegiances

Leon said Libya's neighbours are in a better position to assess what is going on and to take decisions on ways to support a political process.

"We all agreed that more conflict, more use of force will not help Libya get out of the current chaos," he said, which would also impact countries in the region, in Europe and beyond.

Libya's divisions are rooted in rivalries between Islamists and non-Islamists, as well as powerful tribal and regional allegiances between groups who quickly filled the power vacuum the fall of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Successive transitional governments have failed to control them.

The formation of a new government by the Islamist-dominated outgoing parliament came on the grounds that a handover of authority earlier this month was improperly handled. However, Libya's court system and laws remain in disarray, meaning whoever has the guns has the power.

Mysterious airstrikes

The political rivalry has been coupled with militia infighting that has scarred the capital and driven out thousands of its residents. It has also turned Benghazi into a battlefield between Islamist militias and fighters loyal to a renegade army general who vowed to weed them out.

Mysterious airstrikes on positions of Islamist militias in Tripoli prompted accusations of foreign military intervention because Libya's air force doesn't have the capacity to do it.

Islamist militias accused Egypt and the United Arab Emirates of being behind the airstrikes. Egypt has denied involvement and the UAE has declined to comment on the reported strikes.

To cap the violence, some Libyan lawmakers have called for UN intervention to help stabilize the country, awash with weapons and dominated by rival militias and allied political groups.

"Foreign intervention whatsoever— because there are many types of intervention— any kind of intervention or foreign intervention won't help Libya get out of chaos," Leon said.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

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