Mayors, Council Reps to Work Together to Improve Residents' Conditions, Support Political Process

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29 Jan 2015

Mayors, Council Reps to Work Together to Improve Residents' Conditions, Support Political Process

Geneva, 29 January 2015 - Representatives of municipal and local councils from a number of towns and cities from across Libya concluded two days of UN-facilitated talks in Geneva on Thursday 29 January 2015 confident that their cooperation on the grass-roots level will contribute to bringing peace to their country.

There were frank discussions in which municipal and local council representatives outlined the difficulties their constituencies are facing due to the conflict, including shortages in services, food and fuel, as well as insecurity. But with the same forceful demonstration of the suffering of the population they displayed there was an equal determination to overcome the differences as the discussions moved from the emotional narratives to the presentation of concrete ideas to support the confidence-building measures to alleviate the suffering of the people.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Leon, addressed the participants, saying: “We all agree that the wounds of the Libyan people run deep. There is not a corner or community in Libya that has been spared.”

He added: “Your fears are for the future and what it has in store for you and future generations. But for us to work on the future, we have to look forward, and focus on how you can work together to help bring peace and security to Libya.”

Participants were convinced that a frank and genuine exchange of views among the Libyans forms the basis for reconciliation, and for that purpose they started with these discussions. All participants stressed the need to work together and cooperate to create a conducive environment for the success of the dialogue that aims to find a peaceful solution to Libya’s political and security crisis.

Participants agreed to send an unequivocal message to all Libyans that they came to Geneva to help in the quest for peace and that they are capable of contributing to that, each in his respective position and area of responsibility. They underscored their national and professional duty as well as moral responsibility towards their constituencies and that they should spare no effort to work to improve the living conditions of the people they represent.

They discussed the confidence building measures that were reached by the main political dialogue track, and how they can contribute to implementing them to improve the day-to-day lives of the people.

Participants also agreed to send a clear message to all conflicting parties to listen to the call by the elected mayors and representatives, who are closer to their constituencies and aware of their needs and their aspirations, that now is the time to stop fighting and to seize the opportunity for peace presented by the dialogue. They stressed that an immediate cessation of hostilities would allow the municipalities and local councils to cater to the urgent needs of the population, particularly the vulnerable segment such as the wounded and the displaced.

They decided to establish working groups to follow up on their efforts to improve the lives of the Libyans who have suffered so much and have lost loved ones and property, and were forced to flee their homes.
In line with the positive environment that prevailed at the meeting, the UN facilitated an agreement between the municipalities of Misrata and Tawergha on the following points:

1. Establishment of a committee from the local council of Tawergha and whoever they call upon to help in visiting the prisons in the City of Misrata and to receive assurances about their conditions, and to review with the responsible authorities the charges against them and their legal status.

2. The right of the people of Tawergha to return to their land through the establishment of a committee to discuss the mechanism to achieve that on the ground and to remove all obstacles and prepare all the appropriate conditions.

There was agreement that UNSMIL will follow up this process in cooperation with the two sides.

The Mission expresses sincere gratitude to the governments of Switzerland and Italy for their continuous support to the dialogue to bring peace to Libya.