India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla 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 of this year and has been charged with the conduct of elections on 24th December 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 24 December 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 endeavor.”
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.
Shringla said that the ceasefire agreement “needs 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,” 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 that, “Libya has become a logistics platform for Al Qaida 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 for decades Mu’ammar Gaddafi, the country has been in a precarious situation. In April 2016, India banned all travel of Indian nationals to the country irrespective of the purpose.