All Libyans, including women and internally displaced people, should be able to freely participate in the elections slated to be held on Dec. 24, the UN chief said on Wednesday.
“Incitement to violence, or harassment or hate speech, have no place in the electoral process,” Antonio Guterres said in opening remarks to the second Berlin Conference.
Guterres said political and military progress should go “hand in hand with efforts to address the root causes of instability in Libya.”
“This calls for an inclusive, rights-based national reconciliation process, starting at the community level, with a focus on women and young people,” he added.
He called on interim government in the country to provide support to the High National Electoral Commission and asked the House Of Representatives to clarify the constitutional basis for elections, and to adopt the necessary legislation.
“We must put an end to all foreign interference, including the full withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya," Guterres said.
"I urge Libyan and external parties to agree on a comprehensive plan with clear timelines to achieve this goal, which UNSMIL stands ready to support,” he added.
He said the UN is committed to support the Libyan cease-fire monitoring mechanism and that the first group of UN cease-fire monitors will be deployed to Tripoli soon.
Addressing the conference, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “After decades of dictatorship, and years of conflict, Libyans want to make their voices heard.
We should therefore recommit to ensuring that free and fair elections take place in the agreed date.”
“The message that this second Berlin Conference is sending is that foreign interference in Libya must come to an end, and that the arms embargo must be respected,” he added.
- Libya seeks international support
For his part, Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh sought international support to ensure the timely holding of elections in the country.
"Today we can speak with a unified voice and say we will not return to war," Dbeibeh said, adding that the conference aims at assessing the progress of commitments made since the first Berlin Conference which he said are "not sufficient yet."
"Our path towards stability and unity of our country is in danger, still we want to be a democratic and a sovereign state," the Libya premier stressed.
Dbeibeh said after the first Berlin Conference, Libyans, with the help of the UN, managed to secure a cease-fire and take steps towards the path of unity especially with regard to the lifting of the oil blockade.
The Libyan premier pledged to make all efforts to hold elections on time and asked for the support of the participants in the conference to make it possible despite “many obstacles.”
Dbeibeh stressed that some issues remained unsolved including the parliament's approval of the budget and the security issue as mercenary groups are still present in some regions of the country.
"We have a comprehensive security plan in order to secure elections, and we expect the adoption of the electoral law," he added.
"With your help, we hope to see the full withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and foreign fighters in order to also implement the relevant Security Council resolutions. This plan needs funding and equipment," the Libyan premier said.