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At UNSC, Foreign Secretary Shringla extends support to Libya’s National Unity government

New Delhi: India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday (July 15) extended support to Libya’s National Unity government with New Delhi willing to provide “capacity building and training assistance in mutually identified areas.”

After years of instability, Libya’s National Unity government was formed in March this year and has been charged with the conduct of elections on December 24, 2021.

Speaking at United Nations Security Council (UNSC) briefing on United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Shringla said, “Elections need to be held as planned on December 24, 2021, in a free and fair manner. In order to achieve this, it is vital that the constitutional basis for conducting elections is agreed upon early.”

He stressed on an “inclusive and comprehensive national reconciliation process” and hoped that all the “parties concerned would engage sincerely in this endeavour.”

October 2020 saw a ceasefire agreement between various rival parties in the country. The ceasefire pact called for the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and other forces from the country within 90 days, and a number of confidence-building measures including prisoners’ exchange.

The Foreign Secretary said that the ceasefire agreement “need to be respected” but “unfortunately, these provisions, in particular, those related to the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries, continue to be violated”. He also highlighted that the “arms embargo continues to be blatantly violated” and “there needs to be a serious discussion within UNSC for measures to ensure that the decisions of the Council on withdrawal of foreign forces are implemented for sustainable peace and stability” in the North African country.

India’s envoy to United Nations TS Tirumurti is the chair of the UNSC’s Libya sanctions committee. As the chair, it monitors the implementation of the sanctions measures. Measures such as arms embargo, travel ban, assets freeze, and business restrictions for listed terror groups based in the country.

At the meet, Shringla said, “We must ensure that terrorist groups and affiliated entities are not allowed to operate unchallenged in Libya” and expressed concern over the activity of the Islamic State in the country.

He pointed out, “Libya has become a logistics platform for Al-Qaeda affiliates in Mali. This is a matter of grave concern due to the potential cascading effect it could have throughout the Sahel region,”

India has had close and friendly relations with Libya but with the fall of the country’s ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, for decades, the country has been in a precarious situation.