Russia has blocked the Security Council on the one-year renewal of the United Nations political mission in Libya, threatening international unity ahead of the December 24 presidential election, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.
Moscow, which has a veto power, did not approve the wording of a resolution drafted by Britain on the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya as well as on the role of the envoy. The UN in the North African country, the sources said.
The mandate of the UN mission expires Wednesday evening, and the Security Council planned to vote in the morning on a simple “technical renewal” until the end of the month in order to “solve the problems” by then. said a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity.
When questioned, the Russian diplomatic mission to the UN declined to comment, citing ongoing negotiations.
During the last Security Council debate on Libya, Russia insisted that any withdrawal of foreign troops be managed in such a way as not to jeopardize the balance of power in the country.
Libya was plagued by violence and political turmoil in the aftermath of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
In recent years, the oil-rich country has been divided between two rival administrations backed by foreign powers and a myriad of militias. Eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar was supported by Russia.
After Haftar’s forces were routed from the west of the country last year, the two sides signed a ceasefire in Geneva in October.
An interim administration was put in place in March this year to prepare for the presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24.
But divisions quickly resurfaced, raising fears that the elections would take place.
In a recent report, the United Nations also recommended that one person lead their mission in the country.
In 2020, the United States imposed a dual leadership, against the advice of the 14 other members of the Security Council: an envoy to Geneva, the Slovak Jan Kubis, and a coordinator based in the Libyan capital, the Zimbabwean Raisedon Zenenga.
The UN recommends having only one envoy based in Tripoli, as was the case in the past.