The Libyan parliament convened for the first time today, a move welcomed by the United Nations mission assisting the country which said it hopes that the politicians can lead the north African nation away from continuing bloody battles in Tripoli and Benghazi.
“This step reflects the genuine will of the Libyan people to see that the democratic process and its outcomes are respected,” the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement referring to the seating of the 200-member Council of Representatives.
It added that the convening of the Council “also reflects the people’s insistence on building a state based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.”
Elected on 25 June, the parliamentarians are seen leading the efforts to create an inclusive political dialogue and in “taking the necessary steps to safeguard the security, safety, unity and sovereignty of Libya,” according to the Mission.
Libya is embroiled in some of the worst fighting since the 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi and set it on a path to democratic transition.
In its statement, UNSMIL renewed calls on all sides for an “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” and to reject all attempts to resolve political differences through violence.
The Mission also reminded those fighting that they have a legal obligation towards the civilian population under international law, including refraining from endangering their lives.
UNSMIL has said it will provide the necessary technical support to the Council – which replaces the General National Congress – based on the assistance requested by the parliamentarians.