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Exclusive: Security Council Diplomat Warns Against ‘Catastrophe’ in Libya

Exclusive: Security Council Diplomat Warns Against ‘Catastrophe’ in Libya

Thursday, 18 January, 2018 - 10:30
Ghassan Salamé (on screen, right), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

A United Nations Security Council diplomat warned strongly against ‘catastrophe’ befalling Libya should warring parties fail to come together and prioritize national interest.

The diplomat also highlighted the importance of upholding partisan flexibility enough to amend the political agreement in keeping with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the diplomat stressed the importance of the roadmap put forth by UNSMIL Head Ghassan Salamé.

Salamé’s roadmap received internationally vast support.

With the international envoy briefing the members of the Security Council on Wednesday, the diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat that Salamé continues to show exceptional leadership.

“There are elements in Libya put their own interests above national interests,” the diplomat added.

Addressing the “difficulty in negotiating” amending the Libyan peace agreement “allowing constitutional reform and elections to take place,” the diplomat urged Libyan political leaders to “engage constructively” in the political process, warning that “recent clashes, threatening civilians are a reminder that there should be no assumptions at all on the stage of violence having passed.”

The UNSC diplomat also called for “holding those who commit violations accountable,” adding that “existing intricacies are caused by East-West and military relations.”

He expressed his belief that "some people personally benefit from the current situation—a premise which may lead to disaster in Libya."

For his part, Salamé said that the UN continues to strengthen its presence in Libya.

“The United Nations is poised to increase its presence in Libya,” Salamé told the Security Council via video link, noting that more staff will be working in the capital, Tripoli, and they will visit more communities across the nation.

“It is only by truly understanding the country that we can succeed in the implementation of the Action Plan for Libya and help its citizens put an end to a too long transition,” he added.

Following six months of armed conflict in Libya in 2011, the UN established UNSMIL, a political mission, to support the country’s transitional authorities in their post-conflict efforts.

Salamé, who briefed the Council alongside Hajer Sharief, Co-founder of 'Together We Build It,' a professional network for Libyan women, said that the second anniversary of the Libyan Political Agreement, on 17 December 2017 passed peacefully due in no small part to the unity of the Security Council, which, in its recent Presidential Statement declared that the international community stands behind the Agreement and will not accept attempts to undermine it.

For his part, the diplomat said that “once reconciliation paths reach a required level, then it will possibly move closer to holding a national forum, where all Libyans can meet and agree on a common vision and a unified framework for their country.”

He called for “marginalized groups to be included in the political process as equal partners.”

He also pointed out that “about 600,000 Libyans have recently registered for upcoming elections so that the electoral register exceeds 2 million voters.”

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