Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Abdoulaye Bathily Statement on the Independence Day
TRIPOLI, 23 DECEMBER 2023 – On the eve of the 71st anniversary of Libya's Independence Day and on behalf of all UN personnel serving in Libya, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Libyan people.
This year, however, Independence Day feels bittersweet as it also marks the first anniversary of the postponement of general elections which were supposed to be held on 24 December 2021. Libya has lost a year in its path toward lasting peace, sustained stability, and prosperity – a year during which peace and reconciliation could have begun.
I reiterate my call to Libyans from all walks of life to make sure 2023 marks the beginning of a new era for the country, including through the holding of free and fair elections.
I call upon all Libyan leaders to consider how they wish to be remembered in the history of their country. I encourage them to be a driving force in resolving Libya’s protracted crisis; agree on a solution based on a national compromise; and avoid escalatory action that would threaten Libya’s already fragile stability and unity.
The patience of the Libyan people is running out. It is time to prioritize the needs of the nation and the public – including the 2.8 million Libyans who already registered to vote. Libyan leaders must map an end to the transitional period, bring the country to elections and respect the people’s right to determine their future.
The UN will spare no effort in working with all parties constructively, inclusively and firmly to support Libyan leaders to prevent further division and avoid wasting more time.
It is what the people of Libya want and what they deserve.