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SG/SM/21020
12 November 2021

‘Seize This Moment for Peace’, Secretary-General Urges Libya Conference, Voicing Support for Elections, Withdrawal of Foreign Fighters

Following is the text of Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Paris Conference on Libya, today:

Today’s conference on Libya has one overriding goal:  to seize this moment for peace.

Peace that the Libyan people have been denied for far too long.

We are here to show Libyans that the international community stands solidly behind the process that has led them to this point.

And that we will continue to support them through the organization of inclusive and credible parliamentary and presidential elections on 24 December, as envisaged under the Political Roadmap adopted in 2020 and mandated by Security Council resolution 2570 (2021).

The majority of Libyans support holding these elections.  Nearly 3 million people have registered to vote so far.  Their aspirations and determination to participate in free and fair elections must be met.  Women and young people must be able to participate equally and meaningfully in the electoral process, both as voters and candidates.

Elections are an essential next step on the road to peace and stability.  This step has to be built on a strong foundation of inclusive and credible frameworks that can guarantee its success.

I strongly urge Libyans to come together in a spirit of national unity, to overcome remaining differences and forge a consensus on the legal framework for the elections, in consultation with all relevant national institutions, adhering to their rules and procedures.

Individual ambitions cannot stand in the way of Libya’s peaceful transition.  And I call on all Libyan parties to participate in the election process, and to respect the election results.

The presence of foreign elements in Libya’s internal political and security affairs is a continued grave concern.  I call once more for all foreign interference to end.

I commend the 5+5 Joint Military Commission for its remarkable unity of purpose and the concrete progress it has achieved. I am encouraged by the agreement on an action plan for the gradual, balanced, sequenced and synchronized withdrawal of all mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces.

Now the plan must be implemented.  And this requires the support and cooperation of all concerned stakeholders.

United Nations ceasefire monitors are in Libya to support and work closely with the 5+5 Joint Military Commission and with the Libyan Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism.

The regional dimension of the withdrawal of foreign fighters cannot be overstated.  I am encouraged by the ongoing dialogue between Libya and neighbouring countries on this issue.

I urge all Libyan and foreign actors to extend their full support to the 5+5 Joint Military Commission and to respect the arms embargo in Libya.  Member States cannot defend Libya’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity here in New York and practise the opposite in Libya.

We also need to extend our collective focus to supporting national reconciliation efforts and to building and strengthening rule-of-law institutions founded on human rights.

Libyan authorities have the responsibility to protect all people in Libya, including migrants and refugees.  I am deeply concerned about the dire conditions that refugees and migrants continue to face in detention.

And we need transparent and equitable management of Libya’s wealth as a starting point for the inclusive, sustainable development Libyans so desperately need.

Libya today is closer than it has been for many years to solving its internal crisis and breaking the cycle of political transitions.  We cannot miss this opportunity.

I urge all those with power and influence over the situation to put the nation’s well-being and prosperity ahead of their own personal interests.  Any party that deliberately undermines or sabotages peace must be held accountable.

The United Nations remains fully committed to working with Libyans, the African Union, the League of Arab States, the European Union and neighbouring countries at this crucial time.

For information media. Not an official record.