Statement of SRSG Martin Kobler to the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of Libya’s Neighbouring Countries
Statement of SRSG Martin Kobler to the
Eighth Ministerial Meeting of Libya’s Neighbouring Countries
22 March 2016
“A united neighbourhood
in support of a united Libya”
Your Excellency, Minister Jhinaoui, Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to be here today and to have an opportunity to address you in this important forum.
I am pleased to see that Libya is represented today by His Excellency the President of the Presidency Council Mr. Fayez Serraj.
I would like to begin by thanking our Tunisian hosts for organizing this very timely meeting, as well as for their hospitality in hosting another round of the UN-facilitated Libyan Political Dialogue earlier this month.
I would also like to thank the Governments of Egypt and Algeria, and all Libya’s neighbours, for their continued political engagement and support to the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement.
I am especially delighted to see present here today the Secretary-General of the Arab League, His Excellency Dr. Nabil El Araby and the High Representative of the African Union for Libya His Excellency President Jajata Kikwete.
Excellencies, Since this forum has last met in December last year, the Libyan political process towards a democratic transition has reached a number of milestones.
The Libyan Political Agreement was signed in December, and approved by the House of Representatives in January. The Presidency Council has established a Temporary Security Committee and formed a cabinet, which received express approval from a commanding majority of members of the House of Representatives.
At the same time, the process remains very precarious.
In the East, , a minority has succeeded in blocking a vote in the House of Representatives on the cabinet proposal. In the West, last week the authorities in Tripoli and Tobrouk publicly said that they refuse to transfer power to the Government of National Accord, and threatened the member of the Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord with arrest should they decide to come to the capital.
Meanwhile, terrorist groups continue to take advantage of the political divide, and the Libyan people – and their neighbours – continue to suffer the consequences. The humanitarian situation in Libya is deteriorating further in Tripoli and Benghazi.
It is imperative that Libyan political actors take responsibility now, in the higher interest of the Libyan people to stop the human suffering and Libya’s descent into chaos. I am grateful for the constructive role that Libya’s neighbours continue to play in this regard.
The overwhelming majority of the Libyan people are in favour of the Libyan Political Agreement. The overwhelming majority support the formation of the Government of National Accord. The overwhelming majority want and deserve peace – now.
On 10 March, all the participants in the Libyan Political Dialogue said that they valued the statement of support for the Government of National Accord by the majority of members of the House of Representatives.
The Dialogue members also called on the House of Representatives to honour their responsibilities in accordance with the Libyan Political Agreement. The country needs to move ahead now, or risk further division and collapse.
Excellencies, With your support, the United Nations will therefore proceed along the following four lines:
First: Together with the Libyans, the region and the wider international community, we will continue to support the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement. This is the plan and there are no alternatives.
The Government of National Unity as proposed by the Presidency Council must be allowed to take up its duties in Tripoli as soon as possible.
Second: Given the security situation and the expansion of Daesh, it is imperative to unify and reform Libyan security forces. I urge the Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord to immediately establish a mechanism to achieve this goal. The international community and UNSMIL stands ready to assist.
While the political process is extremely slow, Daesh takes advantage of the political and security vacuum and is expanding to the west, east and south. While Libya’s financial resources are dwindling, the criminal networks, including human smuggling, are booming. In southern Libya, the national conflict and the absence of a functioning security apparatus continues to aggravate local tensions between communities.
You, Libya’s neighbours, are suffering direct consequences of the country’s instability.
Daesh in Libya constitutes an urgent and growing threat to Libya, the region and beyond.
Third: The support of the Libyan Political Agreement must be broadened. This requires a parallel, complementary, bottom-up approach. The support of civil society, youth, and women organizations has to be further deepened. Tribal dignitaries and municipalities have a crucial role to play and must be brought on board.
I intend to work with the relevant authorities responsible for national reconciliation in the new Government of National Accord to arrange for regional fora of tribal leaders and mayors to accompany the process of nation-building.
Fourth: In parallel, the Constitutional Drafting Assembly should present the Draft Constitution on time for a referendum.
I have just returned from Oman, where members of the Constitutional Drafting Assembly, have convened to consult and deliberate on the remaining constitutional issues that are yet to be resolved. I am confident that the members will work together in a constructive manner, and draft a Constitution that will fulfill the aspirations and ambitions of all Libyans.
Neighbouring countries have a vital stake in Libya’s future and a critical role to play. Several of Libya’s main challenges – the growing terrorist threat, human trafficking, weapons smuggling –can only be tackled effectively through regional cooperation.
The Government of National Accord requires strong international and regional assistance and support.
Despite the challenges, I am immensely encouraged and gratified that Libya’s neighbours, like the members of the UN Security Council, stand committed and firmly united behind a peaceful and organized transfer of power to the Government of National Accord.
I continue to count on your support for the new Libyan government as it prepares to establish itself in Tripoli and get on with the task of governing.