Activities of Secretary-General in France, 19-20 March

21 March 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in France, 19-20 March

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Paris on Saturday, 19 March, to co-chair an international meeting on Libya with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.  He flew in from Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, whom he had met on an official visit to Spain one day earlier.

The Secretary-General briefed the assorted European, Arab and African leaders in Paris about the efforts that he had made to resolve the crisis in Libya, where, he reported, the violence between forces loyal to and opposed to Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi was continuing.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13461)

He noted that, on 17 March, the Security Council had adopted resolution 1973 (2011), which, he said, affirmed unequivocally the international community’s determination to fulfil its responsibility to protect civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by their own Government.

The Secretary-General said that it is imperative that we continue to act with speed and decision.  He informed the leaders at the Paris meeting that the Libyan Prime Minister, Al Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi, had called him one day earlier to say that Libya would abide by resolution 1973 (2011) and asking for the Secretary-General’s intervention to stop military action.  The Secretary-General added that he had also spoken several times to Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kousa to urge the Government to cease fire immediately.

The Secretary-General also briefed those gathered at the meeting about the work of his Special Envoy to Libya, Abdul Ilah Khatib.  The Special Envoy had visited Libya and had called on the Government to comply with Security Council resolutions.  At the same time, a United Nations humanitarian team had seen worrisome signs, including threats and incitement against the armed opposition.  Mr. Khatib had informed the Government of the United Nations intention to create an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.

The Secretary-General said that many of the acts being seen in Libya appear to constitute crimes against humanity and we must hold the perpetrators accountable.

The Secretary-General also participated in an interactive discussion of the Libya question at the meeting.

Later, he met with the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, at a working dinner.

He left Paris for Cairo the following day, 20 March.

For information media. Not an official record.