OPENING REMARKS OF THE ACTING SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL IN LIBYA, STEPHANIE WILLIAMS - MEETING OF THE LPDF ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Geneva 16 January 2021
I have been struck by how many of you have observed that you are here witnessing history, that your beloved country is at a turning point, that you believe what you have before you now is a rare opportunity. That you have entered into what can be described as a morally binding contract to work together in a spirt of fraternity and solidarity.
I agree that you have a unique opportunity which you would be foolish to squander. There is a fragile calm on the ground in Libya after years of conflict. That calm has provided a window for these talks to take place in a more convivial atmosphere than in February of 2020 when the first round of the dialogue convened while bombs were dropping on Tripoli.
Over the past months, under the umbrella of the United Nations, Libyans have come together to build bridges across the tracks of the Berlin process in order to genuinely tackle the issues that have driven the conflict, including the armed conflict itself, its economic roots, the political crisis and division and the need for accountability, transitional justice and reconciliation. This is a Libyan-Libyan process, not brokered by foreign powers or in smoke-filled rooms in faraway capitals but by you and your colleagues in the other tracks.
There is widespread consensus to put the fighting behind you, to try to restore some semblance of normality, to start the process of rebuilding and repairing, to enable the many who are internally displaced and in the diaspora to go home and for the fighters to put down their guns, hopefully for good this time.
In Tunis, you and your colleagues in the group of 75 launched a program, an ambitious plan to pull your country out of its downward spiral, out of years of perpetual turmoil. To start the process of healing and reconciliation.
You charted a roadmap and agreed the first critical step to renew the political legitimacy of your institutions and restore your sovereignty through the holding of national elections on December 24 of this year. You agreed clear steps leading to these elections that shall be held on an agreed upon constitutional basis. You set out a very reasonable timeframe for the politicians and relevant institutions complete these steps - and you built in contingencies in the event that they fail or impede process, then alternative steps will be activated.
In Tunis, you also agreed on the need to restructure the executive authority to govern Libya in the run-up to the elections. This new, unified government would be tasked with putting in place the necessary conditions for the elections to take place. It will also seek to launch national reconciliation, combat corruption, and restore the delivery of public services. You agreed on the need to monitor the government’s performance and to put in place mechanisms which can hold it to account.
I hope that after your consultations last night, you are ready to rise to this occasion, to use today, our last day here in Geneva, to negotiate in good faith and with a spirit of compromise and above all keeping in mind the good of the country -- your country, a country which has been profoundly scarred by war, its economy ruined, its social fabric torn, and its public services in complete disarray. This is not the time to make the perfect the enemy of the good.
Our principles are unambiguous: we seek a temporary unified executive staffed by Libyan patriots who want to share responsibility rather than to divide the cake. This temporary executive has a clear and limited mandate which expires with the holding of the elections on the 24th of December. We have set the table to decide a selection mechanism that should embody the principles of full inclusivity, transparency, equality and fair representation across regions and within different population groups. La Ghalib wa La Maghloub. Neither victor nor vanquished.
Yours is a noble task and I am confident that you can fulfil it here today. Don’t disappoint all those who are counting on you to work together to reach compromises for the sake of your country.