UN renews Libya mission but no date for elections

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The UN Security Council on Thursday extended its political mission in Libya for a year but did not endorse a December 10 date for elections that was agreed during a Paris meeting four months ago.

Four key leaders from Libya agreed in May to hold the landmark polls on December 10 as part of a French-led plan to stabilize the war-torn north African country despite ongoing violence and deep divisions.

The council unanimously adopted a British-drafted resolution that called for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held “as soon as possible, provided the necessary security, technical, legislative and political conditions are in place.”

France had called for the December 10 election timetable to be maintained, but faced opposition from the United States along with other European Union countries, notably Italy.

US Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Cohen warned during a council meeting last week that “imposing false deadlines will backfire” and lead to worse divisions inside Libya.

Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 overthrow and killing of Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival governments scrambling for control of the oil-producing country.

A UN-brokered ceasefire announced on September 4 has failed to quell fighting which this week targeted Tripoli’s airport.

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