As yet another UN Libya envoy quits, his successor must be bolder

From: Chatham House
Published: Thu Apr 25 2024


To break through Libya's political stalemate, the UN must be willing to pursue a bolder strategy, despite the risks of failure.

UN Special Representative to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily has resigned after 18 months in post, leaving behind a political process best described as moribund.

Most international policymakers seem to believe Libyan rivals must initiate the deal to break the current impasse. The UN has taken the view that progress is not possible without the approval of key powerbrokers and their international backers.

On the other hand, many Libyan actors believe the only realistic chance of breaking the status quo is through an internationally mandated process. After all, the last two ‘unity' governments have been created through UN mediation - in 2015-16 and 2020-21 respectively - while an attempt to produce a government through Libyan institutions alone has served only to produce a parallel government and reintroduce administrative division.

The reality is that both Libyan and international buy-in is required to broker change. Despite the mounting challenges faced, the next UN special representative will still be best placed to secure this.

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Company: Chatham House

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