1. The present report, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2510 (2020) and 2542 (2020), covers political, security-related and economic developments in Libya, provides an overview of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the country and includes an outline of the activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) since the issuance of my previous report (S/2021/451) on 11 May 2021.
II. Political, security-related and economic developments
2. Sustained efforts continued under United Nations auspices to advance Libyan-led and Libyan-owned dialogue processes in support of the ceasefire agreement, economic reforms and the holding of elections on 24 December 2021.
3. My Special Envoy for Libya visited the country from 25 May to 3 June and from 6 to 10 July. He met with the Presidency Council, the Prime Minister and members of the Government of National Unity, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the High Council of State, General Khalifa Haftar and the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, among others. He stressed that it was imperative to proceed with the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed in Geneva on 23 October 2020, including the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces and the opening of the coastal road as a confidence-building measure. He appealed to the Presidency Council, the Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission and General Haftar to advance an actionable, timely, coordinated and gradual plan for the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces from Libya.
4. UNSMIL continued to support a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned approach to the implementation of the road map adopted by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis in November 2020. The Mission convened and facilitated, virtually and in person, four meetings of the Forum and its committees to advance discussions on options for the constitutional basis for elections.
5. On 6 July, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Agila Saleh Gwaider, established a committee of members of the House tasked with developing draft electoral laws required for the holding of elections on 24 December 2021, in coordination with the High National Electoral Commission and UNSMIL. The draft laws were submitted to the House for consideration. A meeting of the committee and the Electoral Commission was held in Rome from 26 to 29 July, at which drafts were submitted to the House of Representatives for further discussion.
6. Appointments to the sovereign positions listed in article 15 of the Libyan Political Agreement, including the Governor of the Central Bank and the Head of the Audit Bureau, remained inconclusive and subject to parallel processes in the House of Representatives and the High State Council. The two bodies have both established committees to receive and screen candidates.
7. Foreign forces and mercenaries continued to operate throughout Libya, with no discernible abatement of their activities. On 21 June, demonstrations took place in Sirte to protest against alleged criminal acts committed by foreign mercenaries. At airbases in the Sirte and Jufrah area, the movement of foreign fighter jets and cargo aircraft providing logistical support to foreign mercenaries also continued unabated. My Special Envoy actively engaged with the respective Libyan authorities and institutions, as well as with concerned Member States with regard to securing an agreement to initiate the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces.
8. On 23 June, the United Nations and Germany co-chaired the second Berlin Conference on Libya. The Government of National Unity participated in the Conference and was welcomed as a member of the International Follow-up Committee on Libya. In the conclusions of the Conference, the participants reitera ted the importance of holding presidential and parliamentary elections as scheduled on 24 December 2021, in accordance with the road map. They also called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries without delay; urged the House of Representatives to approve a balanced national budget; recalled the obligation of the Presidency Council and the Government of National Unity, as the interim executive authority, and all parties to respect international human rights and international humanitarian law and hold accountable all those who had violated international law; and welcomed the initial steps of the interim executive authority towards launching an inclusive, comprehensive and rights-based national reconciliation process.
9. On 8 July, my Special Envoy delivered the report on the international financial audit of the Central Bank to the Prime Minister, the Presidency Council and the heads of the two branches of the Bank. The audit had been requested by the former President of the Presidency Council, Fayez Serraj, in a letter dated 10 July 2018, in which he had also requested UNSMIL to facilitate the process. The transmission of the report marked the beginning of the process to unify the two branches of the Bank.
10. On 15 July, the Security Council held a ministerial-level meeting. In his briefing, my Special Envoy shared his concerns about the wider ramifications of the stalemate in the political/electoral track resulting from the stand-off between key political and institutional actors. He warned that, if the impasse over the constitutional basis for the elections and the stand-off were not swiftly resolved, and, if the key leaders of the country did not show the political will to reach a solution, and reach a compromise to implement it, recent positive momentum could be reversed.
11. At the request of the Security Council, an independent strategic review of UNSMIL was conducted under the leadership of Abdoulaye Bathily (Senegal), who provided recommendations on the structure and mandate of UNSMIL, which I submitted to the Council on 6 August for its consideration (see S/2021/716). In the report, Mr. Bathily urged an intensification of the mediation efforts of the Mission and an increase in its resources and capacities. He also called for a return to the previous structure, with a Special Representative and two Deputy Special Representatives (one for political affairs and the other serving as Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator).