Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Former UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame believes the repeatedly postponed elections are “not important as long as the state functions normally.”

In an interview with the French magazine Jeune Afrique on Saturday, Salame reflected on his experience heading the UN mission in Libya between 2017-2020.

He said “political arrangements do not concern the average Libyan citizen,” though he noted they do worry the political elite and Western states.

According to Salame, Libya’s problem is that Europeans care about Libya but not Libyans. “My problem is that I cared about Libyans, not Libya,” he continued.

“Outside parties want there to be one friendly force, but there is always a balance of power and no external force can impose its presence. Attempts to do so may be costly and I hope they do not happen,” he explained.

Salame described Libya’s current situation as better than its neighbors, stressing it has overcome many crises.

He confirmed the UN has solved two major issues that emerged in Libya. Firstly, ensuring regular oil production flow and cementing Libya’s status as a major cheap, high-quality energy producer, which he deemed essential for the country’s economy. Libya relies fundamentally on oil revenue in a comprehensive income system set up under Gadhafi that gives almost every individual a government job when they turn 18, he noted.

This represents two-thirds of the national budget, and for three years since oil began flowing regularly, this income has been redistributed to all, Salame continued.

Salame said the second thing Libyans needed was a ceasefire, achieved after the January 2020 Berlin summit, and the establishment of the 5+5 committee comprising five officers from each side, which continues to meet regularly. The ceasefire has held, roads between east and west are open, and “I can say civilian life has returned to some extent,” he stated.

Salame expressed his happiness on leaving Libya because he “accomplished the mission” he came for.

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