UN Urges Libyan House of Representatives to Hold Elections

UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. (Reuters)
UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. (Reuters)
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UN Urges Libyan House of Representatives to Hold Elections

UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. (Reuters)
UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. (Reuters)

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman reassured Libyan House of Representatives President Aguila Saleh Issa--who met on Thursday with Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salamé at the Tobruk headquarter—on international consensus backing the political agreement concluded in 2015 in Skhirat, Morocco, as the only framework for the political process in Libya.

According to a brief statement to the UN mission, Feltman urged Libyans to place their national interest above all, so that 2018 emerges as the year of change.

Cooperation between the Libyan parliament and the UN is greatly appreciated, and the importance of holding elections that reflect the will of citizens is undebatable, Feltman told reporters.
He also stressed the key role of Tobruk-based government’s role in the electoral legislation.

Feltman had arrived in Libya on 10 January to discuss with Libyan leaders the implementation of the United Nations Action Plan for the country and ways to bolster international support for Libya.

The Plan – which provides, among other things, for amending the Libyan Political Agreement, organizing a National Conference, preparing for elections and providing humanitarian assistance -- was unveiled at a high-level event held during the General Assembly’s latest session last September. The meeting was convened to relaunch the Libyan political process under the facilitation and leadership of the United Nations.

The Action Plan is, “in essence, a synthesis of the hopes and goals of the Libyan people,” says Special Representative Ghassan Salamé. “Libyans are tired of moving from one transitional period to another. I am not here to remove what is temporary and create another.”

Since the launch of the plan, which revived the previously stalled political process, Salamé and UNSMIL have been working on all its components simultaneously.

“Libyans have taken positive and brave steps toward reconciliation and dialogue previously seen as unacceptable to the parties themselves,” Salamé said.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.