The US is committed to fully supporting the UN head Special Representative Bathily's efforts to build consensus leading to presidential and parliamentary elections later this year in Libya, in keeping with the aspirations of the Libyan people, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said in an online briefing on Thursday.

Leaf, who recently ended a three-day tour in the region, said that Libyans have repeatedly made clear they want elections and to vote for a unified government that provides them the services, security, and stability they lacked, which "they well deserve."

She further stressed "the importance of upholding Libya’s sovereignty and respecting Libya’s ceasefire agreement by ensuring all foreign fighters, forces, and mercenaries leave the country, above all, Wagner fighters, as well as US support for Libya’s economic institutions to strengthen transparency." 

Responding to a question on whether elections are possible this year in Libya, the US official said the prospects for elections lie firmly in the hands of the Libyan leaders.

"We’ve already seen two years ago with the unprecedented number – millions – of Libyans registering to vote that there is a deep appetite, actually a demand signal, for elections.  And beyond that, a demand signal for a unified government that they have not enjoyed for 12 years."

Leaf said that she conveyed to all the leaders she met that the SRSG is launching a process to mediate to get over some of the sorts of seismic issues, which have prevented them from holding such elections previously, emphasizing that all requirements are in place to go ahead with the voting process.

However, she confirmed the importance of having a political will and the ability to compromise.

"Nothing prevents Libya from holding elections this year except for lack of political will or unwillingness to compromise among key leaders. 

She said that technically, the country is capable of holding such elections, but there is a need to get the key leaders in the place of exercising compromise and getting behind the SRSG’s efforts.