UN Envoy Warns Libya on Brink

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNSMIL, Bernardino León, addressed the UN Security Council on Monday, and warned that the country was on the brink of " of protracted conflict and civil strife".

The full text of Mr León's address is shown below:

Mr. President, Esteemed Members of the Security Council,

1. You have before you the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. The report provides details on the work of the mission over the past six months, and highlights some of the critical political and security developments that have taken place in Libya during that period. It provides a sombre reading of the rapidly deteriorating political and security landscape in the country.

2. Tomorrow marks three years since this Council established the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. Despite the initial sense of optimism that accompanied the Mission’s establishment, today we find ourselves at a critical moment in Libya’s democratic transition: a faltering political process that has brought the country closer to the brink of protracted conflict and civil strife.

3. Since assuming my duties just over two weeks ago, I have been in contact with Libyans from across the political spectrum. On 8 September, I undertook my first official visit to Libya as Special Representative, traveling to Tobruk, al-Baida, Tripoli, Misrata and Zintan. Following frank and open exchanges with Libyan interlocutors, I am confident of the willingness of all parties to engage constructively with our efforts to explore options for a peaceful way out of the current crisis. All acknowledged the deep political differences and profound sense of mistrust. Yet they all underscored the need to overcome those differences, to end armed hostilities, and for the political process to resume as soon as possible in order to prevent further polarisation and division.

4. In my discussions with the elected House of Representatives, currently seated in Tobruk, I reiterated the international community’s unequivocal recognition of it as the sole legislative authority in the country. But I also impressed upon them the need for brave, responsible leadership. Given that a group of parliamentarians continues to absent itself from House of Representatives proceedings, I underlined the importance of inclusiveness and for immediate steps to address the concerns cited by these parliamentarians. In this respect, I am encouraged by the apparent willingness of the House to display the necessary flexibility in the pursuit of a mediated resolution of the current crisis surrounding it. I have also received positive signals from the other side that they intend to move in a similar direction.

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