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West calls for Libyan election preparations, cautions against ‘disruptive changes’

A joint statement by France, Germany, Italy, the US and Britain calls for the ‘constitutional and legal basis for these elections’ to be settled by 1 July.

France, Germany, Italy, the United States and Britain urged Libya on Thursday to start preparations to meet a December deadline for holding elections, which it is hoped will help the country exit a decade of crisis.

Libya’s interim government, which came into being in March through a UN-backed inter-Libyan dialogue, is mandated to lead the country to elections on 24 December, but formal preparations have not yet started.

“In addition to the political and security arrangements, the technical and logistical preparations will be critical,” a joint statement from the western allies’ embassies in Libya read, calling on the authorities to “agree the constitutional and legal basis for these elections by July 1”.

The interim government replaced two rival administrations based in Tripoli and the country’s east.

Both gave their backing to the new administration and the election timetable, generating cautious hope that Libya might move beyond the conflict and chaos that has entrapped it since the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator in 2011.

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