Divided UN extends Libya mission by three months

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The divided UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution extending its political mission in Libya by just three months, with Russia vetoing a longer prolongation until a new UN envoy is appointed.

The text extends “until 31 July 2022 the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)” and “calls upon the Secretary-General to appoint a SRSG [emissary] promptly” to be based in the capital Tripoli.

The resolution requires the UN chief report monthly on its implementation until the end of July.

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Since the resignation in November of Slovak envoy Jan Kubis, the Security Council has been marked by growing Russian opposition to any common agreement on Libya.

UNSMIL’s annual mandate was renewed in September for only four months, before being extended in January for another three months.

According to diplomats, at the start of negotiations, Britain presented its 14 partners in the Security Council with a draft text renewing UNSMIL’s mandate for one year.

But faced with Russian resistance, the text transformed into a technical renewal of the current mandate for only three months.

On April 19, during a closed-door meeting, the UN Secretariat had called for a longer renewal to give time to recruit an envoy.

Russia instead called for an appointment to be made as soon as possible before deciding on a more prolonged mandate for UNSMIL, diplomatic sources told AFP.

Libya has been mired in conflict for long stretches since Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Plagued by divisions between competing institutions in the east and west, Libya remains split between rival forces, with two opposing executives in place since February.

Earlier in April, a rival government selected by parliament in the east met for the first time, challenging a cabinet brokered by the UN and based in the capital Tripoli in the west.

The UN resolution adopted Friday urges “all parties to refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process” or a 2020 October ceasefire.

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