For any political progress to hold, ‘the fighting has to stop’, UN chief declares in Libya

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) speaks at a meeting with Libyan representatives in Tripoli. 11 October 2014 UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) speaks at a meeting with Libyan representatives in Tripoli. 11 October 2014 UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Libya, 11 October 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tripoli today where he urged all Libyan parties to press forward on peace talks in order to restore stability to their crisis-ridden country, declaring “enough killings, displacement of people and destruction.”

“Libyans launched their revolution because they wanted freedom and democracy. They wanted human dignity, they wanted prosperity and a better life for their children,” said Mr. Ban at a meeting with several of the country’s high-level politicians.

“But let me be clear: if violent confrontations do not cease immediately, if sustainable peace is not restored, prosperity and a better life will be a distant dream. This is what hangs in the balance today for the future of Libya,” Mr. Ban added.

According to a statement released by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, the Tripoli meeting was attended by the Deputy President of Libya’s elected House of Representatives and other members from the House and parliamentarians who boycotted the House sessions.

Also present were the Foreign Minister of Italy, special envoys of the United Kingdom, France and Malta as well as the Secretary–General’s Special Representative for Libya, Mr. Bernandino Leon.

“The country cannot afford to be politically divided for such a long time. But for any political breakthrough to take hold, the fighting has to stop,” said Mr. Ban, adding that Libya needs one parliament that represents all Libyans.

The Secretary-General’s visit comes after the successful efforts of Special Representative Leon, and the UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), to relaunch the dialogue among parliamentarians on 29 September. This dialogue, based on the principles of legitimacy, inclusiveness, and rejection of terrorism, is the first step towards resolving the country’s crisis.

While United Nations recognizes the legitimacy of the elected House of Representatives, legitimacy has to come with inclusion based on rules of procedure and consensus.

“We know that you do not have direct authority over the armed groups, but strengthening your political institutions will boost your moral authority and will earn you the strong support of the international community,” said Mr. Ban.

While the international community is well aware that no military intervention will help to resolve Libya’s problems, it cannot tolerate the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Libyans, said Mr. Ban. As Italians and Maltese know well, the tragedy is playing out on the Mediterranean as people, driven by conflict and lack of opportunity, attempt a desperate crossing into Europe.

Additionally, Mr. Ban expressed concern over the proliferation of weapons in Libya which is having very negative effects on the ground. The spread of terrorism constitutes a matter of concern for Libya and for the international community alike.

“As I have said repeatedly, military action may kill terrorists, but good governance, inclusive political dialogue and development will defeat terrorism,” Mr. Ban reiterated.

Mr. Ban also pledged support to the civilians affected by the conflict, saying that the UN, through its agencies, programmes and funds, is doing all it can to provide aid to people in need.