5 May 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Message to Contact Group on Libya, Stresses Importance

of Security Council Resolutions as Framework for International Action


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, to the second meeting of the Contact Group on Libya in Rome today, 5 May:

I thank the Governments of Italy and Qatar for organizing and co-chairing this second meeting of the Contact Group on Libya to build on the momentum generated by the first such meeting, last month in Doha.  I was pleased to attend that session, at which participants engaged in fruitful discussions on the situation and strove to enhance cooperation and coordination of international efforts aimed at finding an early and lasting solution to the crisis.

The crisis in Libya is now in its third month.  The ability of the international community to act decisively and swiftly to date has saved thousands of lives and prevented a humanitarian catastrophe.  I would like to emphasize the paramount importance of Security Council resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), which provide the framework for international action.  As the Contact Group seeks to move the process forward, it is important that future actions continue to be based on these resolutions.  Maintaining consensus will be crucial in ensuring coherence, effectiveness and success.

Let me now highlight three key areas of United Nations engagement.

First is the need to ensure unrestricted access for humanitarian assistance and to coordinate international efforts in this regard.  Since our meeting in Doha, the United Nations has established a humanitarian presence in Benghazi and has delivered two relief shipments to Misrata.  A UN humanitarian mission had been operating in Tripoli, but had to leave following the ransacking of our facilities on 30 April.  The mission is now operating out of Tunisia, and will return as soon as security conditions permit.  We are exploring the possibility of a temporary cessation of hostilities in order to better respond to acute humanitarian needs within Misrata and other vulnerable areas.

Second is our work with all stakeholders to put in place a political process that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people.  My Special Envoy, Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, has continued to negotiate with both parties with the aim of achieving an immediate ceasefire.  There is consensus that any ceasefire agreement should be credible and verifiable.  It must also be consistent with resolution 1973 (2011), in which the Security Council reaffirmed its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.  The actions we are pursuing seek to do just that.  We will continue working with the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the European Union and various Member States on this political path.

Third is our planning for peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction.  The tasks that will face any transitional process that emerges will be daunting.  Early planning is crucial.  At the Doha and Cairo meetings, there was consensus that the United Nations is best placed to lead planning for the longer-term effort of building strong democratic institutions.  To lead this process, I have appointed Ian Martin as my Special Adviser.  An inter-agency task force coordinated by the Department of Political Affairs has been set up to facilitate cooperation and information-sharing among the many United Nations entities involved.  Mr. Martin has also begun to work closely with national and international partners to develop a comprehensive framework for post-conflict reconstruction and sustainable peacebuilding.

Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.  My Special Envoy will now provide further details of his ongoing efforts.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record