|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Formally Welcomes ‘New’ Libya to Its First Major United Nations
Meeting, Noting New Flag ‘Flying So Proudly Outside Building’ This Morning
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the High-level Meeting on Libya, today, 20 September, in New York:
Thank you for participating in this important meeting. For Libya, this is an historic day. Last Friday, the General Assembly of the United Nations overwhelmingly voted to accept the credentials of the new Libyan leadership. Today, we are honoured to formally welcome them into the international community and to this first major meeting at the United Nations.
President [Mustafa Abdel] Jalil, Prime Minster [Mahmoud] Jibril: I am sure you saw your new flag this morning, flying so proudly outside this building. I am pleased to note that the flag is in this room as well. To you and to the people of Libya, we offer our congratulations and best wishes for the future. For the past seven months, you have fought courageously for your fundamental rights and freedoms. Women and young people were in the vanguard, demanding a say in the political and socio-economic life of their country. As you look to the future, I want you to know that the United Nations will support you in every way we can.
Months ago, the Security Council and several regional organizations and arrangements met the challenge with speed and decisive action to protect the Libyan people from violence. Today, we must once again respond with such speed and decisive action — this time to consolidate peace and democracy. Last Friday, the Security Council authorized the establishment of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya — UNSMIL. This effort must be well-coordinated, coherent and comprehensive. It must be fully consistent with Libyan needs, Libyan priorities and the Libyan context.
The National Transition Council has outlined basic requirements in critical areas. These include the political and electoral process, constitutional reform, public security, human rights, transitional justice, rule of law, gender equality, reconciliation, reconstruction and economic recovery. My new Special Representative, Ian Martin, and his team are already deploying. Meanwhile, United Nations humanitarians and engineers have been on the ground for several weeks, distributing food and medical aid and assisting Libyan authorities to deal with critical threats to the country’s water supplies.
Needless to say, the challenges are large. The first priority must be peace and security. Fighting continues in some parts of the country. Elsewhere, however, we are encouraged that so many Libyans, from so many communities, have laid down their arms and are working together to build their nation. We urge those that have not done so to join them.
We can also be very encouraged by the able leadership demonstrated so far by President Jalil and many others. They have repeatedly and publicly embraced essential principles — the principles of tolerance, moderation, reconciliation, human rights and the rule of law, and in particular the rights of women and migrant workers. These are the foundation stones of any modern democratic society. If they are firm, then other work can proceed smoothly — economic recovery, repairing infrastructure and restoring public services, creating new institutions of government and ensuring law and order.
Let me close, once again, with our congratulations and best wishes for the new Libya. Your country has great potential. Its industrious and resilient people, its resources and strategic location — all these are enormous assets for the happiness and prosperity of the Libyan people. We look forward to working closely with you, and I thank you very much. I thank you very much for your leadership and commitment for peace and stability and human rights of Libya.
* *** *For information media • not an official record