By Zeinab Mohammed Salih.
New York, 20 September 2017:
Libya faces an historic opportunity for a political solution said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the launch of today’s high-level Libya meeting on the edge of the UN General Assembly in New York.
“It is my deep belief that there is an opportunity for a political solution in Libya” said Guterres, “I do believe that we all need to come together – independent and sometimes different opinions, different perspectives, different interests – we all need to come together to make sure that this opportunity translates itself into a reality … We must all seize this moment”.
He insisted that the Libyan Political Agreement remained the transitional framework for peace. There could be no military solution.
“Violence has only dimmed hopes for peace, undermined institutions, damaged Libya’s vast economic potential and exported instability to the region” he said, “Looking ahead, it is crucial to fashion a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political solution”.
He set out seven priorities which included the coordination on international efforts. His new chief at UNSMIL, Ghassan Salamé has made clear his frustration at independent national initiatives which have cut across the prime mediation role of the UN.
Guterres also called for the reinvigoration of an inclusive political process “by building on recent positive developments”.
Security had to be strengthened. Additionally people would not feel a real peace dividend until socio-economic conditions improved along with the provision of goods and services.
He also said that support was needed for migrants, adding, in what may have been a swipe at the EU’s attempt to stem the flow of asylum seekers from Libya, that long-standing international norms on migration should be upheld. A further priority was securing predictable support for humanitarian assistance.
“The Libyan people have suffered too much” he said, “The Libyan people deserve peace and to live in democracy and prosperity. But on the other hand, we are all aware of the impact of the Libyan crisis. There has been a dramatic impact in the region and further afield and that to solve the Libyan crisis must be a priority not only for the neighbours, not only for the African and European continents, but I would say for the whole world”.