Excerpts from SRSG Leon’s Press Conference at the start of Libyan political dialogue in Morocco
Skhirat, Morocco on 15 April 2015 - Hello to everybody. Hello to all the journalists. It is a pleasure to see you again. And as in previous occasions, we are looking forward to working with you in a good spirit of cooperation. Thanks for your patience. Thanks for being ready to spend some time with us.
As in previous occasions, we are expecting this to be long days and long weeks maybe working with the parties. Because what we are trying to do, the main goal of this round that we start today is to agree with all the participants on what could be a final document. The parties should be aware that we will try to achieve the maximum they can get and that after this round of talks it will be very difficult to get more than that. So, if we reach a point in which they accept the document, fine, it means that they will have gotten what they expect or most of what they expect.
I would like to start today by calling on the parties to be flexible, to be generous, to be ready to make concessions. They will negotiate seriously. They will come with lots of ideas, lots of proposals, lots of remarks. But they cannot get everything, that’s obvious. Or we can also reach the point in which they think it is not enough and it is better to continue in the situation Libya is today. I Hope this will not be the case, because the mood has changed in Libya, because the parties are realistic, because they expressed their view that the ideas the United Nations is proposing are good ideas, are good basis for discussion. So let’s start today with a positive view.
The United Nations condemns in the strongest terms the airstrikes that happened this morning on Metiga airport. We have had airstrikes before in Metiga. We have seen negative messages towards this dialogue, but we have never seen airstrikes in the moment in which one of the delegations is taking off in its way to the talks. It is an extremely negative move. I’m not going to say only that this in unacceptable. Of course, it is unacceptable. But we hope that there will be an investigation who is behind this attack and we hope that an explanation will be given to the international community. I have heard today many international actors reacting in the strongest possible terms. Nobody can accept the continuation of war. Nobody can accept violence and aggressions in a moment in which the international community is promoting peace talks and dialogue. But much more than that nobody can accept that there are airstrikes in a moment in which one of the delegations is taking off coming to the dialogue.
This is another evidence of where Libya is today. We have seen this week allegations that 400 people might have died leaving Libya in their way to Italy. It is a terrible drama. It adds to what we have seen in the recent months. We have seen bombs against the Moroccan Embassy, against the Korean Embassy. We have seen more terrorist actions in other areas of the country. This is Libya today: Terrorism, no controlling of their borders, people dying every day in the Mediterranean, airstrikes, more fighting. It cannot go on. It simply cannot go on. The patience of the Libyans is finished and the patience of the international community is finished.
So I really hope that the negotiators that are coming today are coming also understanding that we cannot wait anymore and that this will be really the final round where we will agree on this document and we will agree on the main elements for the unity government including, of course, the names.
Let me add that in the meantime, while we are working here we will continue in the other tracks, in the other negotiations and other working groups. We are planning to meet in the coming days the armed groups. As I told you last time we met, it is a very important track. It is very important to listen to them, to explain what we are doing because there won’t be a final solution for Libya if the armed groups are not involved. And we are equally working with Egypt to prepare the meeting of the tribes, which is also a very important track.
Let me say we have already announced that publicly but for those of you who are not following every day the Libyan process, let me say that we have also agree to add a new track, if I can say so, with women. So we will have a meeting, because the contribution of women to every track has been really precious. They have provided excellent advice, excellent ideas and initiatives. We will organize a specific meeting with Libyan women in the coming days.
Finally, as always, thanks to His Majesty, thanks to the Kingdom of Morocco, to all the team here that makes this possible, that makes your life easier once. Once again, I’m sure we will have all their support for what I expect to be successful talks.
Question: Do we you expect by the end of this round, there will be names of prime minister and his deputies?
LEON: We expect by the end of this round to have the final version of the best both parties can get, and to have also a serious discussion on what the names could be. As I always tell you, this is not a forum where we take decisions. We are here to discuss and to make proposals. The parties, the participants will go back to their constituencies they will assess whether this is good enough for them to agree on this proposal and then they will come back.
Question: ... you said this round is decisive, they have to start making concessions, if not they might say this is not enough, what will happen?
LEON: As I always say, let’s focus on what we expect we will get. First of all, the parties, the participants have insisted that they consider the ideas proposed by the United Nations as a good basis for discussion. This is one important element. Second we are working on Libyan ideas. So, the United Nations is not here bringing something out of the blue. These ideas are mainly coming from the Libyans. Some of them have been adapted, have been slightly transformed. The essence of these ideas coming from the Libyans. The United Nations is proposing something that we believe should be acceptable for both sides. So, let us focus for the moment on this possibility. Let us bring also a realistic picture of what the parties can get through negotiations and what will be their reality in case there is no agreement. And we know, I have described some element. So, is it going to be so bad that continuing in the situation that they are today would be better? Then I don’t think so. I don’t think so.