By Betul Yuruk
UNITED NATIONS (AA) - The United Nations Security Council backed an initiative Thursday to form a UN-facilitated Libyan high-level panel for the country's stalled elections.
The 15-member Security Council in a joint statement reaffirmed its strong commitment to an inclusive, Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process as well as its strong support for the people of Libya to determine who governs them through elections.
The UN envoy for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, unveiled details of his initiative for holding Libya’s long-awaited elections this year last Saturday.
The Security Council urged all stakeholders to engage fully, constructively, transparently and in a spirit of compromise with the UN envoy and to uphold guarantees concerning the independence and integrity of the inclusive electoral process and election results.
The Council also called on the Libyan authorities and institutions to organize elections in a neutral way across the country in 2023.
The UN initiative won support from the head of the Tripoli-based unity government, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, and chairman of Libya's Presidential Council, Mohamed Menfi.
Khalid al-Mishri, the head of the Tripoli-based High Council of State, also said his assembly has a strong political will to hold the elections.
There was no comment yet from the East Libya-based parliament on the initiative.
Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.
The situation has worsened since last March when the East Libya-based parliament appointed a new government led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, but Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, one of the two figures claiming power and authority in Libya, insists he will cede authority only to a government that comes through an "elected parliament," raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war.