UN chief urges Libyans to avoid violence, maintain stability

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Libyans to avoid violence and maintain stability in Libya, according to a statement by his spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General is following with concern the demonstrations that were held in several cities in Libya, including Tripoli, Tobruk, and Benghazi,” Stephane Dujarric said in the statement released late Saturday.

The UN chief called on protesters “to avoid acts of violence and on the security forces to exercise utmost restraint,” he added.

According to the statement, Guterres also urged Libyan actors to “come together to overcome the continued political deadlock”, which is negatively “deepening division” and impacting the country’s economy.

On Friday, protesters stormed the premises of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (parliament) and set it on fire amid protests in several Libyan cities calling for the abolition of legislative and executive bodies and holding elections as soon as possible.

Libya has been plagued by turmoil and divisions since the 2011 ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

UN-sponsored talks between Libyan rivals to agree on a constitutional framework for holding the long-awaited elections have been deadlocked.

Libyans are still waiting for elections to take place in hopes that the vote will contribute to ending years of armed conflict in the oil-rich country.

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