Pope Francis Calls for Constructive Dialogue in Libya

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On Sunday, Pope Francis conducted a special address to the people of Libya, in particular, the young people, and to all those who are suffering because of the serious social and economic problems in the country.

Speaking from St. Peter’s square for his Sunday Angelus message, the Pope expressed solidarity with the people of Libya who he said “continue to suffer from political and economic instability”.

He called for “new and convincing solutions” to those problems, “with the help of the international community, through constructive dialogue and national reconciliation.”

Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, which led to internal struggles that only ended with a cease-fire in 2020.

A presidential election originally scheduled for December 2021 and delayed until June 2022, has still not taken place. Earlier this month, protesters stormed the House of Representatives (HoR) in the eastern city of Tobruk and burned the building. Since then protests have continued throughout the country.

Last week, United Nations (UN) Political Affairs Chief, Rosemary DiCarlo, told the Security Council that leaders in Libya must resolve outstanding issues so that long-awaited presidential and parliamentary elections can finally be held.

“The UN’s priority in Libya remains to facilitate a return to the electoral process, based on a sound and consensual constitutional basis for elections. This is what the Libyan people have asked for,” she declared.

DiCarlo commended recent progress following a final round of UN-facilitated consultations on the constitutional basis for the vote, which has been delayed since December.

Notably, angry demonstrations were present in Libya last weekend protesting declining living standards, electricity cut-offs, and other bread and butter problems.

The protesters blame such deterioration on the ongoing tug-of-war between the leading political players obstructing the general elections.

Negotiations between rival factions, in the East and West, have been ongoing in Cairo and Geneva, with no agreement in sight over a framework that would make it possible to hold free and fair elections.