|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6622nd Meeting (AM)
Under-Secretary-General, in Security Council, Voices Confidence that Libyan
Authorities Can Overcome Multiple Challenges with Mission’s Help
Release All Frozen Assets, Top Transitional Official
Urges as Chair of Sanctions Committee Briefs on Latest Actions
Reconciliation, arms control, transitional justice and the welfare of migrants were just a few of many challenges facing Libya’s transitional authorities, Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council today, but he expressed confidence that they could be overcome with assistance provided from the new United Nations mission in the country.
“The three-month mandate given to our UN Mission offers us an opportunity to provide immediate assistance and advice to the [National Transitional Council] and to engage with Libya’s civil society,” said Mr. Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, as he provided an update on developments since 16 September, when the Council established the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
“It will also provide time to assure that any long-term mission that the Secretary-General may propose to the Security Council can be designed to provide effective assistance to the Libyan people for the longer term and to closely reflect Libyan ownership and Libyan wishes,” he said, looking forward to the National Transitional Council forming an interim Government in the near future and assigning interlocutors with whom the United Nations could engage.
Mr. Pascoe reported that on 19 September, the Secretary-General had announced the appointment of Ian Martin as his Special Representative in Libya and of Georg Charpentier as his Deputy as well as Resident Coordinator, ad interim, and Humanitarian Coordinator. Essential personnel were already deployed in Tripoli, with the Chief of Staff, Chief Political Adviser, Chief Police Adviser and Chief of Mission Support already in place, in addition to political officers in Benghazi and Tripoli. Electoral and human rights experts would begin their activities in the coming days, he said, noting that UNSMIL had already begun coordinating the support of other actors, one of its key tasks.
He said that in its meetings with the international community, the National Transitional Council had pledged to uphold human rights principles and to establish a society based on tolerance and coexistence. Tripoli, meanwhile, displayed “remarkable normality”, with its infrastructure overwhelmingly intact, public servants in their offices even as top appointments were awaited, banks and shops open, businesses re-establishing themselves, children back in school and traffic heavy once again. However, fighting continued in Sirte, Bani Walid and a few other pockets of resistance, with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) continuing its military operations and some 60,000 civilians fleeing the fighting since mid-August.
The humanitarian country team was working with the Libyan authorities to enhance support in conflict areas by providing food, water and medical kits while assessing further needs. Stability in other areas remained fragile, as demonstrated by the attack by pro-Qadhafi forces on a town near the Algerian border. The formation of a new, inclusive interim Government would be a crucial step towards national reconciliation and unity, and to ensuring that all military groups were brought under a unified command.
Regarding arms proliferation, he said it was imperative that the National Transitional Council and the international community establish control over the large stockpiles of sophisticated weapons amassed by the Qadhafi Government, including ground-to-air missiles, warning against the spread of those armaments and the threat that they could fall into terrorist hands. Re-establishing control over chemical weapons was of paramount importance, he added, stressing the importance of the transitional authorities resuming the destruction of remaining chemical-weapon stockpiles, more of which had been discovered as recently as 22 September.
Mr. Pascoe said recent reported uncovering of mass graves indicated the enormity of the human rights crimes perpetrated by the former regime. Evidence must be gathered reliably for future accountability mechanisms, and all countries must cooperate with the International Criminal Court in apprehending indictees. At the same time, every effort must be made to prevent revenge attacks, he emphasized, expressing concern over the forced displacement of groups of civilians among the Tewerga and Gwaliosh peoples, perceived as Qadhafi loyalists.
He also expressed continuing concern about African migrants and other third-country nationals, over 200,000 of whom the United Nations had helped evacuate since the beginning of the crisis, noting that many more remained in transit camps inside the country. He urged the early processing of those in detention and greater attention to the security of those who continued to work in Libya.
The Council also heard briefings from José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal), in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) on Libya sanctions, and from Mahmoud Jibril, Chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council Executive Office.
Mr. Cabral noted that resolution 2009 (2011), under which UNSMIL had been established, had also relaxed some sanctions, lifting the ban on flights by Libyan aircraft, introducing additional exceptions to the arms embargo, removing the names of oil companies from the freeze on assets and partially relaxing restrictions on other listed entities. Meanwhile, the Committee had requested its Panel of Experts to look both “backwards and forward” in investigating incidents of non-compliance with the sanctions, and to build a cooperative relationship with the new authorities as well as UNSMIL. He said the Committee was cognizant the Council, through resolution 2009 (2011), affirmed is determination to release frozen assets as soon as possible for the benefit of the Libyan people, and much had already been done in that regard, with more than $16 million having been made available.
Mr. Jibril voiced appreciation for the partial unfreezing of funds, but maintained that the continued asset freeze presented Libya with a major stabilization challenge. The National Transitional Council desperately needed funding to restore services to the population, he emphasized, requesting the Council to lift the freeze completely as soon as possible, because the situation it had been intended to counter no longer existed. It was now the Libyan people who were being deprived of the funds, he added, pointing out that many patients were awaiting replacement limbs, while others needed housing and electricity. Infrastructure had been decimated, and without the necessary funding, Government formation could not proceed, weapons could not be collected and security forces could not be formed.
Turning to other areas, he thanked the Council “for adopting two historic resolutions which have clearly contributed to protecting the lives of thousands of innocent civilians”. In particular, resolution 1973 (2011) and the subsequent international efforts presented an overwhelming victory for international ethics, he said, noting however, that Qadhafi partisans continued to kill people in different parts of the country, and thanking NATO for its decision to continue its operations for another 90 days.
The head of the former regime remained at large and in possession of great wealth, Mr. Jibril, noted, warning that he was still able to destabilize the country and to terrorize other parts of the world, as he had threatened. Agreeing that the spread of arms was a significant threat, he said collecting them would be a priority, and chemical arms stockpiles were also of deep concern.
As for the rights of migrant workers and other groups, he said any abuses or vengeful acts were contrary to the National Transitional Council’s policy, which completely rejected such actions and intended to investigate them. A strong army and strong police force were needed to do that, he noted, stressing again the need for resources. “The Libyan people must have their own resources restored so that they continue on their march to the future.”
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:49 a.m.
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