Draft political deal for Libyan parties is ‘work in progress,’ UN envoy tells Security Council

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Bernardino León, speaks to reporters in New York following his closed-door briefing to the Security Council. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

29 April 2015 – Announcing today that he had outlined for the Security Council his draft proposal for a political agreement among Libya’s opposing factions, the United Nations envoy for the country warned that ongoing “chaos” there has sparked a series of dire events in the wider region – forcing thousands of desperate civilians to seek unsafe passage across the Mediterranean and a spate of recent bomb attacks against embassies in Tripoli.

“This…chaos is what explains the dramas we have seen recently,” Bernardino León, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, told reporters in New York following his closed-door briefing to the Council.

He said violence inside Libya was impacting the region in myriad ways: “death in the Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of migrants traveling to south Italy and other countries, the killing in the south of the country of 30 Ethiopian Christian by Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], together with other crimes and attacks by Daesh as ones happened recently on some embassies in Tripoli.”

In this context, Mr. León said the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which he heads and which has been facilitating a series of talks among the Libyan parties, had proposed some ideas in a draft agreement that has been sent to the stakeholders two days ago.

“We have already [had] reactions from both parties, some of them are critical, some of them are negative and, of course, it is something we can expect in such complex process as it is the one in Libya, he explained.

In an earlier press release, UNSMIL said the draft proposal seeks to create and develop middle ground on the more difficult and sensitive issues and outlines a vision for the remainder of the transitional period.

The draft agreement is anchored in a number of key principles, including that of the inviolability of the democratic process and a clear separation of powers between the executive and legislative authorities, the Mission continued, adding that this as key to the proper functioning of Government and State, and to providing the necessary political guarantees to safeguard a future government of national accord and sufficiently empower it to address the huge challenges confronting Libya.

“I explained to the Council that this is a draft so these negotiations are work in progress. We are in contact with the parties. We are listening to them, of course, and trying to understand how this draft can be improved and how we can reach this consensus we want as a political solution in Libya,” Mr. León told reporters, underscoring that: “We all know very well and the actors involved in the dialogue know very well that there is no military solution.”

He went on to stress that the current fighting in the country is mainly affecting the political dialogue and intended to hamper the talks. “This is what both of these actors are trying to do and this is why I explained to the Security Council that we need to start with the security track as soon as possible, we are trying to start first meeting as soon as next week.”

Explaining that the security track was the area on which no work had yet begun, Mr. León said UNSMIL would like to have face to face meetings as soon as possible on that issue. Tribal leaders should also start to meet soon, he added.

As for his talks with the Council, he said the 15-member body had expressed its concerns, first of all regarding the timing. “The international community would like to see an agreement in Libya before Ramadan. Ramadan as you know starts on 17 June. This is the ideal framework and this is what I heard today in the Council.”

He said that given the international community’s serious concerns about terrorism, about migration and other issues, “chaos in Libya is a huge problem for its own citizens but it is also a huge problem for the international community.”

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