New York

25 September 2014

Secretary-General's remarks to High-Level event on Libya

Libya is in deep crisis.
The past months have seen unprecedented violence between rival armed formations.
More than 300,000 people are displaced. Airports, government buildings and other vital infrastructure have been destroyed.  Hospitals are suffering from acute shortages of medical supplies.
The political transition process is facing its biggest challenge since the revolution.
The legitimately elected legislature, the House of Representatives, has been forced to base itself in Tobruk, and a number of its members have boycotted its proceedings.
The country is increasingly divided.  Violence and intimidation is rampant.
We must do our utmost to reverse this course and help the Libyan people safeguard their democratic transition.
The crisis is also threatening the region and beyond through illegal weapons flows and increasing pockets of lawlessness and extremism. 
Time is of the essence.
Our collective approach should be anchored in the principles of non-interference in Libya’s internal affairs and respect for its national sovereignty.
There is no space for violence in the political transition process.  Concerns must be addressed through inclusive political dialogue, including with those in Tobruk, Misrata, Tripoli, Benghazi and elsewhere.
This will form the basis for the parties’ agreement to disarm and integrate into the state’s military forces.  We must also be clear that terrorists cannot have a seat at the table.
The challenges facing Libya are compounded by the fact that most international missions, including UNSMIL, have had to temporarily evacuate from the country.
Nevertheless, Special Representative Mr. Bernardino León continues to shuttle between the parties in Libya to promote dialogue as the only way out of the crisis.
I commend his leadership.
Your presence today sends a strong signal of engagement and assistance.  We need to reinforce commitments, including those made at the Conference in Rome in March 2014.
Such support depends on Libyan political will to reject violence, engage in an inclusive political process and make the difficult, but necessary, compromises.
These compromises will have to begin immediately, with a complete cease-fire and an agreement to find peace.
Special Representative León has been working in this direction – and I am encouraged by the positive response of the parties to his initiative to facilitate dialogue between them on 29 September.
I hope that the Libyans will seize this opportunity to find a suitable solution to the conflict.  Special Representative León has my full support and confidence and he will need yours, too. 
When I visited Libya in 2011, I saw the courage and determination of its people for a better future.
That is the same spirit that Libyans took to the polls in July 2012 in the first democratic elections in more than four decades.
Only through unity can Libyans hope to build a country that responds to the calls for freedom and honours those who sacrificed so much.
Let us work to encourage all parties to forge consensus in a spirit of inclusivity and reconciliation.
Thank you for your leadership and commitment.