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UN Hopes to Hold National Conference on Libya

UN Hopes to Hold National Conference on Libya

Friday, 18 January, 2019 - 19:45
UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame revealed Friday that the organization is seeking to hold a National Conference for the north African country.

He told a Security Council briefing that the UN will announce the date and place of the Conference once Libyan representatives agree on "the essential ingredients for a new consensus on a national agenda."

He said only Libyans can plot a way out of the political deadlock in the country which "has been underpinned by a complex web of narrow interests, a broken legal framework and the pillaging of Libya's great wealth."

“Libyans from across the country, women and men, will gather in one place and decide how the nation should proceed to the end of the transition.”

“It is high time that the political class responds to these daily calls upon it to overcome its fractious, narrow, and self-interested definition of governance,” Salame stated.

“One key outcome of the National Conference must be to spell out the electoral path ahead … Fundamentally, there must be genuine political support for whatever election is conducted and guarantees that the results will be accepted and respected by all.”

“Even the best of efforts, without united and concerted national leadership, will only go so far,” continued Salame. “Predators will find ways to circumvent the economic reforms. Actors will choose violence over politics. The recent events in Tripoli are a prime example of this.”

Despite a UN-brokered truce, clashes between rival militias re-erupted in the capital two days ago, leaving at least ten people dead.

“There is an imperative to improve security across the country,” stressed the envoy. “Terrorists strike in various towns and cities, most recently with the December 25 ISIS attack on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tripoli. Sporadic clashes still spark across the country, as much of law enforcement remains in the hands of armed groups, not professional security officials.”

Addressing the security situation, Salame said: “The South remains Libya’s vulnerable heart, encompassing almost 1 million square kilometers of land. The source of much of the nation’s natural wealth, through its water and oil, has been woefully neglected.”

“Despite years of promises to address the situation there, conditions are deteriorating at an alarming rate.”

Salame spoke of the threat of ISIS and foreign mercenaries pouring in through porous borders.

“I urge the government and international community to move swiftly and decisively in support of the South.”

“I beseech the members of the various Libyan institutions to see the National Conference as a patriotic concern that transcends partisan and personal interests. To embrace it as a means to be the leaders this great country needs.”

“Of course, there will be those who seek to undermine the National Conference and its outcomes; particularly individuals hoping to delay elections so they may remain in their seats.”

“Without the concerted support of the international community, spoilers will sabotage the political advancement and undo any progress made. If this were to be allowed, Libya’s progress will be set back years and almost certainly open the door to those who believe there is only a martial solution to Libya’s woes. Vital counter-terrorism activities will continue to be hamstrung without the accompanying state building they need to be truly effective,” said Salame.

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