16 April 2019

Activities of Secretary-General in Libya, 3-5 April

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Tripoli from Cairo on Wednesday afternoon, 3 April.  He was there to show his support for the political process during this critical phase in the country.

He was welcomed at the headquarters by staff members of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

On Thursday morning, 4 April, the Secretary-General met with Prime Minister Faiez Serraj.  He then met with the Head of the High Council of State, Khaled Meshri.

In light of developments earlier in the day, the Secretary-General tweeted that he was deeply concerned by the military movements taking place in Libya and the risk of confrontation.  “There is no military solution,” he said.  “Only intra-Libyan dialogue can solve Libyan problems.  I call for calm and restraint as I prepare to meet the Libyan leaders in the country,” the Secretary-General said.

Early that afternoon, Mr. Guterres visited the Ain Zara Detention Centre, where he heard from refugees and migrants.  After meeting with families, he said he was deeply shocked and moved by the suffering and despair he saw in the centre, where migrants and refugees are in detention for unlimited amounts of time and without any hope of regaining their lives.  Later, at the United Nations compound, he met with civil society representatives and held a townhall with staff.

He then held a press conference, accompanied by his Special Representative in Libya, Ghassan Salamé, inside the compound’s premises.  This was followed by dinner at the compound’s restaurant with various ministers.

On Friday, the Secretary-General departed for Tobruk, where he met with the President of the Libyan House of Representatives, Agila Saleh.

At noon, the Secretary-General flew to Benghazi to meet with General Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army.  Following his meeting at around 4:30 p.m., the Secretary-General spoke to the press at the Benghazi airport before departing for Jordan.  He said that he was leaving Libya “with a deep concern and a heavy heart”.  He added:  “I still hope it will be possible to avoid a bloody confrontation in and around Tripoli.”  And he said the United Nations will remain committed, as he would as Secretary-General, to supporting the Libyan people.

For information media. Not an official record.