Kobler: Libya Must Have Functioning Government To End Humanitarian Crisis

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

In a briefing during a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Monday, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Martin Kobler said that the lack of a unified state authority in Libya is the cause of a “tragic” humanitarian situation in the country.

“Over 6,000 families from Sirte alone have had to flee their homes to escape on-going clashes and military operations against Daesh (ISIS),” said Kobler.

The UN mission was established after the Libyan Revolution in 2011 to support the country’s transitional authorities following months of unrest and armed conflict.

Kobler said that 430,000 people were displaced in Libya due to the ongoing conflict and ISIS threat, with many people finding shelters in schools, and public buildings.

“The capacity of local communities and of aid agencies to host and provide assistance has been stretched to breaking point,” he warned,

The UN envoy stressed that the humanitarian crisis facing Libya is due to the fact that the country continues to lack a state authority six months after the signing of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) in December 2015.

Kobler pointed out how it has been almost five months since the Presidency Council (PC) submitted a revised proposal for the Government of National Accord (GNA) cabinet, however,Libya is still without a formally endorsed government.

“The implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement has stalled, and it has stalled because some parties to the Agreement have failed to uphold their commitments,” he said.

Kobler is referring to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) continued refusal to uphold their end of the LPA and give a vote of confidence to the GNA’s cabinet. The HoR’s vote was meant to be symbolic in respect to the role of the HoR as the designated parliament within Libya’s political landscape, not a means of holding on to power.

He urged the HoR to endorse and swear in the GNA as the final step in finalizing Libya’s political transition.

Kobler also stressed that it is vital that the Presidency Council work in its entirety, with all nine members and move quickly to  meet the needs of the Libyan people.

“Immediate steps are needed to ensure that shortages in cash availability, food and electricity are satisfactorily addressed without further delay,” he said, adding that the international community is ready to assist.

In addition, regarding the military situation in Libya, Kobler said that the Libyan army made considerable progress recently in combating ISIS.

“I commend all those who fought against terrorism in all parts of the country, including in Benghazi and Derna. I deplore the deaths of so many brave sons of Libya. Last week I visited Misrata and it its hospital, with it’s wounded. I have seen the resolve and commitment to fight Daesh first hand,” he said.

Kobler urged Libyans not to fight against each other, but rather unite against the common enemy: “The decision of the Presidency Council to establish a joint operations room is a crucial one since Daesh can only be fought effectively through a unified military structure at the national level that also serves as the cornerstone for the development of a unified Libyan army.”

While Kobler did not mention General Khalifa Haftar directly, he warned that “uncoordinated military actions on the ground have raised the spectre of direct clashes between different forces fighting Daesh.”

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