Libyan leaders must 'compromise' for free elections, US ambassador urges

Libyan leaders must 'compromise' for free elections, US ambassador urges
Libyan leaders 'must make the necessary compromises' to ensure Libya's 24 December elections are free and fair, the US ambassador to the country has said.
2 min read
17 August, 2021
US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland is urging collaboration [Getty]

Libyan leaders must make "difficult compromises" to ensure the fractured country's elections go ahead on 24 December, the US ambassador to Libya has urged.

Richard Norland visited several countries during a tour of the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey, and met with senior officials, the US State Department said on Monday.

During the meetings, Norland emphasised the importance of establishing a "constitutional and legal framework so that elections can be held in Libya next December", the State Department's media note read.

Norland "emphasized that Libya's leaders must make the necessary compromises to meet the Libyan peoples’ expectation of free and fair elections, an essential step towards a stable, unified, and democratic Libya". 

Libyan milit leader Khalifa Haftar visited Egypt last week to meet with the US ambassador.

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Egypt is attempting to mediate an agreement that would see Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah's government assume responsibility for most of Haftar's debts and pay salaries to his fighters and mercenaries, according to Egyptian government sources who spoke to The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

Haftar, who controls most of eastern Libya, has so far resisted efforts to place his forces under the authority of Dbeibah's Government of National Unity, as stipulated in the October 2020 peace agreement signed by rival Libyan factions.

He has said he would "not take orders from any government not elected by the Libyan people".

Haftar has reportedly demanded that the Government of National Unity (GNA), which came to power on an interim basis in March, pay off debts accrued by his forces in return for cooperation.

He has so far refused to place his "Libyan National Army" militia force under the GNU's command.

Norland praised Morocco for its role in Libya conflict resolution during a meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

"The role that Morocco plays in the region to support the political process in Libya is very useful," said the US diplomat.