UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Libya Ján Kubiš remarks to the opening session of the Libyan Political Dialogue Meeting in Switzerland - 28 June 2021
Distinguished members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), Ladies, and Gentlemen
I would like to welcome you to this in-person meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue. I wish to extend deep gratitude to the Government of Switzerland for once again hosting the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum and for the warm hospitality accorded to all of us.
I am pleased to address you today, unfortunately only remotely. I hope to be able to join you in person in the coming days.
Last February you met here and accomplished a major objective of the LPDF Roadmap. You voted and selected the leadership of the interim executive authority.
Five months later, you are again here, to accomplish another milestone which will enable the holding of national elections on 24 December.
You are gathering here today with the full support of the United Nations and of the international community, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2570 (2021) and with the Conclusions of the Second Berlin Conference for Libya. Both resolution 2570 and the Conclusions of the Second Berlin Conference called on the LPDF to take steps to facilitate the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections on 24 December, as agreed in the LPDF Roadmap.
Most importantly, you are meeting under the watchful eye of the Libyan people, who are counting on you not to let them down, as they are longing to end the transitional period, exercise their political right to democratically choose their representatives and start rebuilding their country on the solid foundations of legitimate institutions.
Security Council Resolution 2570 called “on the relevant authorities and institutions, including the House of Representatives, to take the actions set out in the LPDF roadmap to facilitate the 24 December 2021 Presidential and Parliamentary elections”.
The resolution also called on the House of Representatives to clarify the constitutional basis for elections and to enact the necessary legislation by 1 July 2021 in order to allow the High National Elections Commission adequate time to prepare for elections according to the prescribed timeline.
Time is not on your side. National elections are only 179 days away. 1 July is fast approaching, and there has been no tangible progress so far despite the commendable efforts of the LPDF Legal Committee to develop a proposal that could form the basis for a consensus. I once again thank the Legal Committee for working sincerely to accomplish the important task you gave them.
When you met virtually on 26 and 27 May, you were not able to resolve the outstanding issues identified by the Legal Committee. As you know, I transmitted the outcome of your deliberations and the proposal of the Legal Committee to the HoR and HCS leadership. It is regrettable that Parliament has not stepped up to its responsibility to clarify the Constitutional basis for the elections and pass the electoral laws.
As reiterated by the High Representatives of the members of the Berlin Process last week during the Second Berlin Conference, national Parliamentary and Presidential Elections need to take place as agreed in the Roadmap adopted by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Tunis, and their results need to be accepted by all. United Nations Security Council resolutions 2570 and 2571 made it clear that those who obstruct or undermine the successful completion of Libya’s political transition, including those elections planned for in the LPDF Roadmap will be held accountable.
Distinguished members of the LPDF,
Since your virtual meeting in May, a number of you have worked tirelessly to develop bridging proposals that could address the outstanding issues. A detailed proposal was circulated by a group of seven LPDF members and several other members also prepared their proposals. I thank them sincerely for their commendable efforts and work, in a spirit of compromise, for an agreement to bridge the differences.
At the request of some members of the LPDF, the United Nations, as a facilitator of this dialogue, convened a meeting of the LPDF’s Advisory Committee in Tunis, from 24 to 26 June, to prepare for today’s plenary meeting. The Advisory Committee meeting focused on considering how the bridging proposals from the group of seven and other LPDF members could be used to build on the commendable work accomplished by Legal Committee, to recommend to the LPDF plenary meeting today, a possible compromise for resolving the outstanding issues.
I would like to recall that the Advisory Committee was formed in January to overcome a deadlock on the selection mechanism for the interim executive authority. As you know, each member who volunteered at the time to join the Advisory Committee was endorsed by at least 3 LPDF members. It is thus your committee, it represents you. I want to emphasize that the Advisory Committee is a valuable resource of the LPDF. It does not make decisions; it provides recommendations and advice for your consideration and decision.
As we will hear shortly, based on the proposals circulated by the group of seven and other LPDF members in recent days, the Advisory Committee reached a consensus on a possible formula that can serve as a basis for your deliberations and for agreement on a constitutional basis for the holding of national elections on 24 December 2021.
I call on you to overcome your differences and any trust deficit, focus your deliberations in the following days on reaching the largest possible consensus, and work constructively to bridge the remaining gaps through compromise.
Considering the 1 July deadline and the timeline for the election stipulated in your roadmap, leaving Switzerland at the end of this week without a decision is not an option. Therefore, should consensus not be possible you will need to agree on a mechanism to reach a decision through a vote on identified proposals, as you did in the past. I remind you once again that there is no time for further delays, there are less than 6 months left before the December elections. Your ability to reach a compromise in this meeting is critical to reaffirm and achieve the objectives you yourself agreed upon in the Roadmap.
The outcome of your deliberations will again be transmitted to the House of Representatives and to the High Council of State to give them a last opportunity to carry out their responsibilities. The larger your consensus will be, the stronger its political legitimacy and weight.
Looking ahead, the LPDF will continue to play a critical oversight role. In the months to come, you will continue to have the responsibility of following up on and facilitating the implementation of the Roadmap to ensure that Libya can reach the electoral date on 24 December without fail.
The future and prosperity of Libya cannot and should not be held hostage by those who prioritize preserving the status quo. Libya and its people cannot and should not be held hostage to such interests and forces.
I encourage you to move beyond what divides you and to reach a consensus on a possible constitutional basis for the elections in December. By this, you will live up to your responsibilities.