11 October 2014

All Libyans Must Feel Represented, Secretary-General Says in Tripoli, Calling for Effective Ceasefire, Good Governance, Inclusive Political Dialogue

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks in Tripoli on 11 October:

Assalamu alaykom, peace be upon you.

I am very honoured to be in Libya once again on my second visit after the revolution.  I am pleased to be joined in this visit by Her Excellency Ms. Federica Mogherini, Italian Foreign Minister and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy designate.  Her presence alongside the United Nations, together with four international envoys from the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Malta, is an illustration of the strong commitment of the international community’s support to Libya.

We have also received very strong support from the Arab League Special Envoy, Mr. Nasser al-Kidwa.  We are also thankful to Spain and the United States for the momentum created by the high-level meetings on Libya which they kindly hosted.

Libyans launched their revolution because they wanted freedom and democracy.  They wanted human dignity; they wanted prosperity and a better life for their children.  They have a rich and blessed country and want, like peoples everywhere, to enjoy their wealth in a state that respects them, protects them and includes them.  This is what the revolution, admired by the whole international community, was all about.

But let me be clear:  if violent confrontations do not cease immediately, if sustainable peace is not restored, prosperity and a better life will be a distant dream.  This is what hangs in the balance today for the future of Libya.

Most Libyans agree that the only way ahead for this country is a political process.  This is why the United Nations and the team of my Special Representative, Mr. Bernardino Leon, are helping the Libyans to achieve this goal with the help and support of many Special Envoys and partners.  In that respect, I came to Libya to convey a message of hope.

On 29 September, the United Nations organized a meeting of parliamentarians of the House of Representatives in Ghadames.  This constituted a first courageous step on which we will build on.  I am here to support the process that was initiated in Ghadames.  This dialogue will have to be inclusive and representative of all Libyans.  There is no alternative to dialogue.  It is my conviction that all problems in Libya can be solved through dialogue.  Nevertheless, we understand that the path will be long and difficult.  Peacebuilding always is.

All parties will have to adopt difficult decisions — hard choices and hard decisions.  This will not be easy.  I would like to praise your courage for accepting to participate and lead in this process.  I am particularly reassured by the strong leadership shown by Mr. Sha’ib and Mr. Bashagha.  In the first place, the purpose of this dialogue will be to put an end to the institutional crisis.  The country cannot afford to be politically divided for such a long time.  Libya needs one parliament that represents all Libyans.

The United Nations recognizes and supports the legitimacy of the elected House of Representatives and demands all people to respect it.  But legitimacy has to come with inclusion.  This inclusion entails rules of procedure based on consensus for the most important decisions, as in any parliament, in any democracy, in the world.  The House has to make all Libyans feel represented.  All.  All Libyans.

Libya also needs a strong Government able to implement decisions.  A strong Government of national unity, which has full political support and popular backing.  A strong parliament and a strong Government can count on the support of the international community.  But for any political breakthrough to take hold, the fighting has to stop.  The first priority is that fighting must stop.  Then, sit down together to address the root causes.  Enough killings, displacement of people and destruction of property.

I call on you, parliamentarians, but also on all the Libyan people, to make all the necessary efforts to ensure that the call for a ceasefire announced in Ghadames is effective.   We know that you do not have direct authority over the armed groups, but strengthening your political institutions will boost your moral authority and will earn you the strong support of the international community.

The decision made in Ghadames was to start a parallel process addressing all security issues.  Both processes need to be connected, and you should address all outstanding issues in the country, including security, which constitutes a priority without which there could be no development, political process or respect for human rights.  It is essential that all segments of Libyan society support this dialogue. 

To the international community, we would like to stress that all countries should support this political process.  No military intervention will help to resolve the outstanding problems in Libya.  To the forces on the ground, stop the fighting.  As expressed in Security Council resolution 2174 (2014), the international community cannot tolerate the continuous spilling of Libyan blood.  It cannot also tolerate the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Libyans because of the fighting in different regions. As Italians and Maltese know well, we also see the tragedy that is playing out on the Mediterranean as people, driven by conflict and a lack of opportunity, attempt a desperate crossing to seek a better future for themselves and their families in Europe.

That is why it is essential that an effective ceasefire is put in place as a matter of priority.  We ask for all groups to stop fighting; attacks in Benghazi by General Haftar and his forces need to stop, as well as actions by Ansar al Sharia and other groups. 

And the same about fighting in the west, where I hope that despite recent tension problems can be solved through dialogue.  All must respect and promote ceasefire.  The United Nations also strongly demands that all military and armed groups withdraw from all Libyan cities, from airports and official buildings, in order to pave the way for legitimate bodies to work and meet the Libyan people’s needs.  We at the United Nations can provide our support towards achieving an effective ceasefire through our political experience and experts. 

We acknowledge also that the proliferation and spread of weapons in Libya represents a problem with very negative effects on the ground, which we also need to address together as a matter of priority.  The threat of the spread of terrorism constitutes a matter of concern for Libya and for the international community alike.  Today, you can still work together against chaos.  As I have said repeatedly, military action may kill terrorists, but good governance, inclusive political dialogue and development will defeat terrorism.

Trying to alleviate the plight of people affected by the conflict, the United Nations, through its agencies, programmes and funds, has identified priorities for immediate response and is providing assistance to people in need.  The basic premise of the dialogue you have embarked on is that it will be Libyan led.

The United Nations will not impose on you any solution.  However, you can rest assured that the United Nations will provide any assistance that is necessary to support you, through the efforts of my Special Representative, Mr. Leon, to solve all your problems and divergence of views peacefully around the negotiating table.  When I appointed Mr. Leon, he was not my direct appointment.  I consulted with the parties.  He has the full confidence of the international community.  What he says, how he acts, represents me.  I am sure, likewise, that this is the same support you will find in your neighbours’ initiatives, like the one proposed by Algeria. 

You have agreed to gather here today because you are patriotic Libyans who desire the best for the country.  Let me conclude by stressing once again that the United Nations will always be by your side.  And let us work together very closely.  Go beyond your personal views.  Just put them down for the benefit of your country.

For information media. Not an official record.