Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah held a meeting with diplomatic mission chiefs in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday to discuss the political situation amid the east-based parliament’s appointment of Fathi Bashagha as prime minister.
A statement made by the unity government noted that Dbeibah told mission chiefs that the government aims to hold elections as part of the road map drawn by the United Nations.
In response, ambassadors told Dbeibah that necessary work needs to be made to hold elections and that they strongly support U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya Stephanie William’s efforts to create a joint constitutional committee.
Ambassadors of Turkey, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Qatar, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Algeria and Tunisia participated in the meeting, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
Turkey’s Ambassador to Libya Kenan Yılmaz previously held a one-on-one meeting with Dbeibah on March 6.
Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Richard B. Norland urged restraint and called on all sides to de-escalate tensions.
“The U.S. continues to urge calm and de-escalation in contacts with all sides,” the ambassador said in a Twitter message, adding that his colleagues in Washington had a similar conversation with Fathi Bashagha Tuesday afternoon.
The struggle over control of Libya's government after the collapse of a scheduled election in December threatens to return the country to conflict and division that has prevailed for much of the period since a NATO-backed revolution in 2011.
Dbeibah was installed a year ago through a United Nations-backed process and says his government remains valid, and he will only cede power after a rescheduled election that he says he will hold in June.
Dbeibah accused parliament of seeking to sabotage the election and said, "What they called a government will never work in reality and will not have a place."
Parliament has declared that Dbeibah's term expired when the December election did not take place as planned, and the chamber has instead chosen Bashagha to lead a new transition with elections to follow next year.
Parliament's position is backed by the eastern-based putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar who waged a 14-month war on Tripoli from 2019 to 2020. Armed factions in the capital and western regions appear divided over the crisis, with some saying they opposed parliament's move to install a new government.
Bashagha, a former interior minister, said he was committed to holding elections within the time frame next year set out by Parliament, adding that he wanted to achieve agreement between rival political institutions on the issue.
Disputes over basic rules for the election led to the collapse of the planned vote in December.