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Can Libya's new interim government succeed? 

April 22, 2021

Libya has a new national unity government that promises free elections by year's end. But the roadblocks it faces are immense. DW’s Conflict Zone confronts the country's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Tamim Baiou. 

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh (second from right) and members of the Libyan parliament
Image: Libyan Prime Ministry/AA/picture alliance

Tamim Baiou on Conflict Zone

Three days after Libya’s new government of national unity was sworn in last month, there was a shocking reminder of how little unity there is in the country. Up to 15 bodies were found handcuffed and dumped at a cement factory in the eastern city of Benghazi. 

Asked about these developments by DW’s Conflict Zone host Tim Sebastian, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said it is still unclear when this crime took place. 

Tamim Baiou added that "during transition periods, things tend to take a little bit of time to come to a more stable environment."

Baiou stressed the new government should be given a chance and admitted that there is a "tall order of tasks that need to be taken care of, including security and stability."

And he made an appeal to the international community to "come together and help the current government in every way possible."

"We are seeking the help of the international community, the United Nations and all the various organizations to step in and help us be able to put impunity at a stop."

Earlier this year, Libyans marked the tenth anniversary of the uprising that put an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s leadership. Since Gaddafi’s fall, the country has experienced a chaotic and violent decade, with warring factions fighting to gain power in the North African country

A UN-led process produced a new interim government for Libya, which is led by prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. The government is designed to last until December, when Libyans are supposed to freely elect the next administration. 

'A chance for peace'

Ambassador Baiou said that Libya "just came out of a proxy war" and explained that in the last few weeks, efforts have been made to "reunify institutions" and "stabilize the security situation in the country through the joint military commission."

Pressed by Sebastian on whether it isn't too premature to talk about the end of the war, Baiou admitted the cease-fire isn’t "solid," but said it’s nevertheless a "stop of hostilities" and emphasized there is a "chance for peace."

Sebastian also asked Baiou about the human rights situation in the country, referring to killings, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, attacks against activists and human rights defenders which were documented by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya

Baiou said "all these issues must be addressed" but also pointed his finger towards the international community. 

"The international community does have a role in this," he said.  

"As a matter of fact, the international community and some of the countries that have meddled into the internal affairs of Libya were the primary cause for some of these things that you're talking about," he told Sebastian. 

"We need to be able to make a stop to that," he said. "Make sure that we give Libya a chance to address its concerns, its problems."

Baiou emphasized that the goal in Libya is to "set up a democratic state that is based on freedoms, that's based on justice, that's based on the ability to prosper and do well."