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Kobler: GNA must set foot in Tripoli even without endorsement


The United Nations special envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said that the Government of National Accord (GNA) has to set foot in Tripoli even without the endorsement of the House of Representatives (HoR).

Kobler warned, according to Malta Today, against the expansion of Islamic State (IS) inside Libya, adding that “the group is expanding day by day, and the urgency of the situation demanded the new government to set foot inside Tripoli as soon as possible, so there can be an immediate transfer of power”.

He added, in a joint press conference with foreign affairs minister, George Vella, that the power and political vacuum only benefits the IS.  He referred to the stumbling process to form the unity government that met a “brick wall, as it still lacks the authorization of the HoR”.

“The government is like a truck with no license plate, the situation is in a stalemate and the government must set up in Tripoli immediately to organize a peaceful transition of power, even without the authorization of the HoR, once the security is established”, confirmed Kobler.

Concerning the fight against the IS, Kobler insisted that Libyans themselves should lead the fight against the group to regain their country, as any military intervention will be ruled out without a request from the government.

Kobler also stressed that all armed militias and groups have to be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated, even though Libya requires a collected action against the IS.

Some 1,500 armed factions, including the IS, are deployed across divided Libya, gripped by chaos and insecurity since the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

In his comments, Kobler pointed to the dire humanitarian consequences of the armed conflict engulfing Libya, as thousands of people were displaced, with significant shortages of food and medicine. Similarly, he said Libya’s crisis devastated the country’s economy as oil production now stood at 350,000 barrels a day, down from 1.6 million barrels before the 2011 Libyan uprising.

From his side, the Foreign Affairs Minister, George Vella, said that the “urgent” situation in Libya had almost reached “the point of no return” and had complicated itself as a result of the political vacuum and the rise of the Islamic State. He warned that if all militants were to take control of swaths of territory in Libya, the results could be devastating.

Vella stressed that Libya need sole government to address the IS threat, and restore security and stability. He renewed Malta’s support to the UN’s initiative and effort to restore stability in Libya. The most important aspect is the urgency of the matter”, he continued.