Secretary-General, in Doha, Says World Community Took Decisive Steps to Protect Civilians in Libya; Critical to Act Together as Crisis Continues

13 April 2011

Secretary-General, in Doha, Says World Community Took Decisive Steps to Protect Civilians in Libya; Critical to Act Together as Crisis Continues

13 April 2011
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Doha, Says World Community Took Decisive Steps to Protect

Civilians in Libya; Critical to Act Together as Crisis Continues


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement on the next steps in implementing Security Council resolution 1973 (2011) to the Libya Contact Group in Doha, Qatar, 13 April:

First of all I would like to thank the Governments of Qatar and the United Kingdom for co-chairing this first gathering of the International Contact Group on Libya.

To all the delegations here today, our thanks for attending this important meeting.

During the past seven weeks, the international community has acted with speed and decision and decisive action.  Throughout the Libyan crisis, our paramount objective has been clear:  to protect civilians from violence perpetrated by their own Government.

Security Council Resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) established a robust mandate. 

At the Paris Conference, on 19 March, we agreed on an operational plan for enforcing those provisions, including the no-fly zone over Libyan airspace. 

We further demanded prompt access for international humanitarian agencies.

On 29 March, in London, we reviewed our progress.  Today, here in Doha, we must look further ahead.

I welcome particularly the African Union High-level Panel mission to Tripoli and Benghazi earlier this week and all similar efforts to seek a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the crisis. 

I would like to work very closely with Chairman Jean Ping of the African Union [Commission] in resolving this issue as soon as possible.

For all of us to be effective, it is important that the international community speak with a unified voice in our efforts to support the Libyan people.

The partners in this coalition requested the United Nations to take a leading role, both in coordinating humanitarian assistance to Libya as well as planning for the longer-term stabilization of the country.

We have already begun that work.

On 31 March, my Special Envoy visited Libya for the second time, travelling first to Tripoli and then Benghazi. 

He reiterated the Security Council’s demand for an immediate ceasefire and called on Libya[n authorities] to end the siege of all cities and towns.

He will continue to engage with all relevant authorities as well as with neighbouring states, regional organizations and other stakeholders on how best to resolve the crisis.

Yesterday, prior to my departure from New York, I received a call from Tripoli.  Prime Minister [Al Baghdadi Ali] Al-Mahmoudi repeated to me the points that he had made earlier to my Special Envoy and to the African Union High-Level Panel.

I took this opportunity to reemphasize to Prime Minister Al-Mahmoudi the need for an immediate stop to the fighting and for all parties to strictly abide by Security Council Resolution 1973, thereby paving the way for a genuine engagement and dialogue.

Yesterday I had a very good meeting with all 15 Security Council members before my departure.  They all appreciated and are committed to work together with all of us to have an early resolution of this issue.

Again, the Libyan Prime Minister offered to receive my Special Envoy Mr. Al-Khatib any time.  He also welcomed the international community to send monitoring teams.

Despite these efforts, the fighting continues.  Coalition forces continue to conduct military operations, both to enforce the no-fly zone as well as to save civilian lives.

Even the most optimistic observers, however, foresee a protracted period of instability before sustainable peace is restored.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation continues to worsen.

Approximately 490,000 people — almost half a million people — have left the country since the crisis began, according to UNHCR.  An average 2,700 people cross to Tunisia and Egypt every day.  Roughly 330,000 people have been internally displaced.

Under our worst-case scenario, as many as 3.6 million people could eventually require humanitarian assistance. 

The situation is particularly grave in cities where fighting has been most intense.  In Misrata, access to basic services and commodities has been limited or cut off completely — food, fresh water, health care.

We have seen improvements in recent days as the WFP (World Food Programme), ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and the Government of Turkey were able to deliver supplies to the city.

Clearly, we must mobilize all means at our disposal, including military, to get aid to those who need it.

Meanwhile, the independent Commission of Inquiry, established in February, has begun investigating reported human rights violations. 

It will report its initial findings to the Human Rights Council in June.  Where possible, those responsible will be held to account.

We all agree:  these efforts are not enough.

I hope that our $310 million flash appeal for Libya will be generously supported.  So far, it is only 39 percent funded — clearly insufficient given the prospective need.

Just as clearly, Libya will require our united efforts in peacemaking, peacebuilding and reconstruction once a ceasefire has been agreed.

Early planning and preparation are necessary.

For that reason, I have initiated consultations with the heads of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. 

We will be examining possible contingencies as well as options for helping Libya along the path of political, economic and social recovery. 

Issues of political dialogue, institution-building, electoral assistance, constitution drafting, security sector reform, economic development and job creation will be central to our planning.

Your support will be invaluable, both financial and in terms of expertise. 

In our meeting today, I hope we can agree on the overall direction of these efforts. 

Further, let us agree to establish this Contact Group asa forum for coordinating the international community’s response to the Libya crisis. 

Let us also agree that it should serve as the principal contact for various parties to the conflict.

This evening, I will fly to Cairo for tomorrow’s meeting of concerned regional and international organizations, which I will co-chair with Mr. Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.  African Union Commission Chairman Mr. Jean Ping, the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the High Representative of the European Union, Lady Catherine Ashton, will participate and discuss the way forward so that all international and regional organizations will speak and act together.

It is critical that the international community act in concert, that we speak with one voice, and that we continue to work in common cause on behalf of the Libyan people.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.