The US vowed yesterday to impose sanctions against those who obstruct the holding of elections in Libya, Anadolu has reported. This was made clear by the regional spokesman for the US State Department, Samuel Warburg, in media interviews and on his official Twitter account.
"There will be sanctions against those who obstruct the Libyan political process and the holding of elections by the United Nations and the United States along with its international partners and its allies in the region and outside the region," explained Warburg. "It is US strategy to support the choice of the Libyan people who chose the election [process], with more than two and a half million people registered to vote."
Presidential and parliamentary elections were supposed to have been held in Libya last December, but they were postponed due to differences between state institutions.
"It is time for forming a unified Libyan government which faces all economic and social challenges that Libya is witnessing," said the State Department official. "The US will work with all parties to reach a solution."
This was a reference to the existence of a pair of parallel administrations in Libya: the Government of National Unity based in Tripoli and headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh; and the government headed by Fathi Bashagha, which won a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives in Tobruk in early March.
Dbeibeh's government refuses to hand over power except to a government that arises from an elected parliament. That is consistent with the outcomes of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which has raised fears that the country may slide again into a civil war.
"The US special envoy to Libya [Ambassador] Richard Norland held meetings during this period with all parties in Libya and met all Libyan leaders, and we encourage the Libyan leaders to move forward towards elections," added Warburg.
A joint committee from the House of Representatives and the High Council of State will resume talks in Egypt on 15 May under the auspices of the UN in an effort to reach a consensus on formulating a constitutional basis for holding the elections.
The people of Libya, meanwhile, continue to hope parliamentary and presidential elections will bring an end to the armed conflict that has plagued their oil-rich country for more than a decade.