Graffiti on a wall in Benghazi, Libya, calls for elections and democracy. Photo: UNSMIL

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) expressed concern over the unfolding security situation in the capital, Tripoli, where forces affiliated with different armed groups have been deploying.

The development came as Libyans awaited news about the postponement of long-promised landmark elections, which was announced Dec. 23.

Appeal for dialogue

The current mobilization “creates tensions and increases the risk of clashes that could spiral into conflict,” UNSMIL said in a statement.


“Any disagreements on emerging political or military matters should be resolved through dialogue, particularly at this stage when the country is navigating through a difficult and complex electoral process that should usher in a peaceful transition.”

Libya has faced critical political and security challenges in the decade since the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gadhafi.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has previously described the elections as “an essential next step on the road to peace and stability” in the country.

A delicate moment

UNSMIL warned that the developments in Tripoli “do not bode well” for ongoing efforts towards maintaining the stability, security and political conditions conducive to holding elections that are peaceful, credible, inclusive, free and fair.

The mission called on all Libyans to exercise restraint at what it called “this delicate moment.”

They were encouraged to work together to create a security and political atmosphere that preserves the country’s progress and enables peaceful elections and a successful transition. 

Engagement with stakeholders

Meanwhile, UN Special Adviser on Libya, Stephanie Williams, continues her engagement with stakeholders towards this objective. 

Ms. Williams, who was appointed in December, had previously served as acting special representative and head of UNSMIL from March 2020 until this past January. 

She was at the helm when the mission brokered a historic ceasefire in October 2020 between the two rival administrations battling for power in Libya.

The accord paved the way to a political roadmap and transitional government, and the historic presidential and parliamentary elections. (UN News)