Libya: UN mission encouraged by “step in the right direction” towards dialogue

Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

17 December 2014 – The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said today that it is encouraged by the positive response it has received to its invitation for a UN-convened Libyan political dialogue.

“The move by the parties to identify their respective delegations to the talks is a step in the right direction,” UNSMIL said in a statement about the dialogue. “In agreeing to take part in this dialogue, all the parties have clearly signalled their determination to spare no effort towards safeguarding Libya’s political transition and forging ahead with building a modern democratic state based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

The statement said that the move reflected the commitment of all parties to finding a peaceful solution to the country’s current political and military crisis through a process of dialogue, and added that the Mission would continue consulting with the parties in the coming days to finalise preparations, including details of the venue and timing.

Despite being encouraged by developments related to the proposed dialogue, fighting continued, with both sides working to reinforce and consolidate their positions in the “Oil Crescent” area, roughly region in eastern Libya between Benghazi and Sirte. The Mission’s statement said it was “deeply alarmed” by the escalation, which undermined the efforts being made to convene the dialogue and which was sure to impact negatively on the economy.

“All parties should desist from any action that obstructs the dialogue efforts and endangers the country’s economic lifeline,” the Mission said, calling for immediate disengagement by all forces in the Oil Crescent area. “Libyan oil is a strategic asset that belongs to all the Libyan people, who deserve an opportunity for stability and prosperity.”

Warning that continued escalation risked worsening “an already disastrous situation” the statement stressed that those threatening Libya’s peace, stability or security could be subject to sanctions, sounding the warning on the same day as the Chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee briefed the Security Council on the Committee’s work since September.

Next week, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Bernardino Leon, will brief the Security Council on his efforts to convene the dialogue and on the escalation of armed hostilities in the country.

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