Libya: UN envoy hails start of political dialogue aimed at resolving ongoing crisis

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Libya, 29 September 2014 – The top United Nations envoy to Libya called today a historic day as the political dialogue aimed at resolving the crisis in the country got under way in the town of Ghadames.

The dialogue, facilitated by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), comes in the wake of unprecedented violence in recent months between rival armed formations in the country. More than 300,000 people are displaced, and airports, government buildings and other vital infrastructure have been destroyed.

In addition, the legitimately elected legislature, the House of Representatives, has been forced to base itself in Tobruk, and a number of its members have boycotted its proceedings.

Following today’s meeting between members of the House of Representatives and parliamentarians who have boycotted its sessions, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Bernardino León, said participants have shown commitment to engage in a political process to overcome their differences peacefully.

“We have agreed to start a political process to address all issues on the elements on the situation in Libya today and to do it in a peaceful way with a very strong call for a complete ceasefire all over the country,” he said at a press conference in Ghadames.

Mr. León added that members of the House of Representatives sent a very clear message that they want to discuss and resolve the problems facing average Libyans – those who have suffered the most in the recent violence.

Participants also discussed the provision of humanitarian relief for affected Libyans, as well as the situation of the airports in the country.

Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Libya is in “deep crisis,” adding that the political transition process faces its biggest challenge since the 2011 revolution.

Addressing a high-level event on Libya held on the margins of the General Assembly’s general debate, he called on all parties in the country to peacefully resolve the ongoing conflict and safeguard the democratic transition that is under way.