The acting Head of the UN Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams explained Wednesday that there are now 10 military bases in the country that are today either fully or partially occupied by foreign forces, revealing that there are now 20,000 foreign forces and/or mercenaries in Libya.
“That is a shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty. You may believe that these foreigners are here as your guests, but they are now occupying your house. This is a blatant violation of the arms embargo.” Williams remarked in her opening statement at the third virtual meeting of the second Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s round.
She said those foreign forces and mercenaries are pouring weapons into the country, which does not need more weapons, adding that they are not in Libya for Libyans’ interests, they are in Libya for their interests.
“I have previously warned you about the declining socioeconomic conditions in the country and the fact that we expect in one month time, exactly in January 2021, there will be 1.3 million Libyans in need of humanitarian assistance.” Williams explained.
She added there is a sharp decline in the purchasing power of the Libyan Dinar, while the liquidity crisis has fully returned along with a shortage of cash in circulation.
She also highlighted that there is a terrible electricity crisis now in Libya, saying she doesn’t need to remind Libyans of how terrible the electricity shortages were last summer.
“One billion US dollars is needed immediately to be invested in the electrical infrastructure in order to avert a complete collapse of the electrical grid in Libya. This is accompanied by a deepening COVID-19 crisis. You now have almost 94,000 COVID-19 cases in Libya. We think those estimates are low and that the actual number is higher, but there is a terrible shortage of testing in the country.” Williams said.
Williams said that she and many Libyans believe that the best way to move forward is through this political dialogue.
“Sharing responsibility for future generations is on you (LPDF participants). This is my ask of you as we have the discussions today in going forward, because, and I will say it again, time is not on your side”. Williams added.