Libya: UN envoy stresses importance of concerted global effort to end crisis

UN Envoy Abdul Elah al-Khatib (left) and Jordan’s Ambassador Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein in the Security Council

4 April 2011 – The international community must continue to work together to help the people of Libya find a solution to their conflict, the United Nations envoy for the North African country said today, adding it remained unclear how long the current situation would last.

“It is clear that the international community must continue to come together and do all it can to support this quest for a solution especially in providing the necessary support for the United Nations to fully implement the Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973,” Abdul Elah al-Khatib, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on the situation in Libya, said in a briefing to the Security Council after his recent missions to the country.

Resolution 1970 adopted in February imposes sanctions against the Libyan authorities, including an arms embargo and a freeze of the assets of the country’s leaders and a referral of the violent repression of civilian protesters to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Last month, the Council passed resolution 1973, permitting the use of “all necessary measures” to prevent further attacks and the loss of innocent lives in Libya, where the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi has conducted a military offensive against citizens seeking his removal from power.

“Despite the effectiveness of the efforts by coalition members to implement a no-fly zone and protect civilians, the fighting has continued between ground forces of the armed opposition and Colonel Qadhafi loyalists,” Mr. Khatib told the Council.

He said information on the humanitarian situation in Libya remained limited due to a lack of access, but added that it is feared there are significant civilian protection concerns such as landmines, gender-based violence and human rights violations.

“Overall humanitarian conditions, especially in and around areas of where fighting is taking place remain grave, particularly regarding medical and protection needs,” said Mr. Khatib.

The envoy said he had, during his meeting last week in Tripoli with Libyan Government officials, stressed to them the demands of the international community.

“My message was clear. I reiterated the international community’s demand for full implementation of the Security Council resolutions,” Mr. Khatib told reporters at UN Headquarters after the briefing.

He also stressed to them the need to respect the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people and ensure access for humanitarian assistance to towns and cities affected by the fighting. He also urged them to release detained foreign journalists and allow stranded migrant workers to leave.

Visiting the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, Mr. Khatib said he met Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the opposition Transitional National Council, who told him that the TNC’s initial priority is to “restore constitutional legitimacy through a referendum.”

“The chairman stated that the Council was ready and willing to implement a ceasefire, provided that the other party does the same and that such a ceasefire includes ending the siege on all western cities, withdrawing military forces… and allowing the population to freely express their position.”

Mr. Khatib said that the opposition had also stressed that the aim of the uprising is to force the departure of Mr. al-Qadhafi and that a ceasefire alone was not sufficient to end the conflict.

“The Council raised concerns about the lack of funds as well as issues surrounding the marketing and sale of oil and gas in Libya, stressing that the issues required urgent attention in order to enable the economy to function effectively,” he added.


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