The new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé has told the UN Security Council that he intends to work closely with his partners to realise a macroeconomic vision for the country, while helping the authorities provide basic services.
"Unless the economic challenges are addressed, and soon", he said, "the humanitarian crisis in Libya will deepen."
"People are frustrated with their deteriorating living conditions. I passed the same bank in Tripoli repeatedly from ten o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock at night and saw so many people I thought it was a demonstration. No! They were just waiting to access a fraction of their month’s salary - the equivalent of what’s now worth $25".
The full text of the speech is shown below:
Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Council
At the outset, I would like to congratulate Egypt on presiding over the Security Council this month.
I am very pleased to be speaking to you from the UNSMIL compound in Tripoli. My presence here is intended to signify the mission’s and my personal resolve to working as closely as possible with Libyans, in Libya.
A month ago I assumed my position as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of UNSMIL. I was fortunate enough to have already met Prime Minister Serraj and Marshal Haftar in Paris on 25 July and to have exchanged with them ahead of taking up my post.
I was also fortunate enough to receive upon my nomination hundreds of calls, letters and emails from all walks of Libyan society.
On 5 August, I made my first official visit to Tripoli and met with the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the High Council of State Al-Sweihli and the following day with Speaker of the House of Representatives Saleh and Libyan officials. This trip launched my consultations with Libyans across the political spectrum and across the country.
Since then, I have been present in Libya as often as possible and have been to towns across the regions: Tripoli, Al Qubba, Benghazi, Misrata, Zintan and Al Bayda. I am sorry to say that due to external restrictions I have yet to visit the South, in fact a trip last Thursday was cancelled a few hours before departure, but we are working hard to make sure that it happens as soon as possible.
In each place I have met with political figures, military and security officials and with women, intellectuals, activists and youth.