Libya: UN trepidatious about Influx of Weapons & Mercenaries – Press Conference (05 October 2020)

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The UN’s chief administrative officer is the Secretary-General, currently Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres, who began his five year-term on 1 January 2017.


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  • United Nations published this video item, entitled “Libya: UN trepidatious about Influx of Weapons & Mercenaries – Press Conference (05 October 2020)” – below is their description.

    Virtual press encounter by Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and Head of Mission, on the situation in Libya. Acting UN Special Representative for Libya Stephanie Williams said the “de facto ceasefire on the ground” helps the political process, but noted that the UN was “very trepidatious about this continuing influx of weapons and mercenaries, and equipment into the country” which increase the risk of “miscalculation.” Williams was briefing reporters in New York via teleconference from Tunis follow a virtual Ministerial meeting on Libya co-chaired by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass. The Acting Special Representative said Guterres updated participants on the progress in the Libyan file. He highlighted “how recent developments represent a rare opportunity to restore peace in Libya,” she said. Williams added, “He stressed that the future of Libya and of the entire region is at stake. He called on all Libyans to act constructively and responsibly to reach a political solution, as we as on the members of the international community to fully shoulder their responsivities to promote an inclusive political solution.” The UN official said participants in today’s meeting noted that Libya is an important unsolved conflict with devastating impacts on Libya and its neighbours. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Berlin conference and called for an inclusive political process where all Libyan political and social components are represented. They also called for collective international action in the framework of the Berlin process to resolve the crisis. Williams said the participants expressed their full support for the intention of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to reconvene intra-Libyan talks, building on recent progress, and emphasized that the UNSMIL-facilitated process should be the only game in town, with all bilateral and regional initiatives converging in support of the UN facilitated process. The Acting Special Representative said the participants urged Libyans to swiftly implement a demilitarized zone in and around Sirte and to agree on a lasting ceasefire in the framework of the 5+5 joint military commission talks which is expected to reconvene in the coming weeks. Responding to questions, Williams said one of the things she heard in her consolations with Libyans, “loud and clear, is that the participants in the political talks should all sign a pledge that they will not put themselves forward; they would not their own names forward for consideration for senior positions in any new executive that might emerge through the political process or indeed through the sovereign positions, the seven key sovereign positions in Libya.” Williams said recent talks in Switzerland produced tangible and productive recommendations on the way forward for the political process and stressed that talks must be fully inclusive, adding that excluding key parties is not a recipe for success. The UN official underscored that violations of the UN arms embargo must stop adding that pledges made today must be translated on the ground. Responding to a question on a timeframe for the political talks, Williams said she would like to convene as soon as possible, preferably before the end of the month. She said military talks would be taking placing in Geneva in the next couple of weeks, adding that her team was mindful of other dates including, Prime Minister Siraj’s announcement that he wishes to hand over power to new consensually agreed executive by the end of October. The Acting Special Representative said, “One thing that is true- and that I think is quite devastating for the Libyans – is almost their complete loss of sovereignty, and we intend to help them restore that sovereignty, through a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process that, by the way, should end with the explicit objective of national elections.”

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    In This Story: Libya

    Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest.

    The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over three million of Libya’s seven million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.

    Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I. Parts of Libya are currently split between rival Tobruk and Tripoli-based governments, as well as various tribal and Islamist militias.

    Libya is a member of the United Nations (since 1955), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the OIC and OPEC. The country’s official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims.

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