By Libya Herald staff.
Tunis, 4 March 2015:
The UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon has given a stark warning to the . . .[restrict]UN Security Council that Libya could break apart if the present political and security crisis is not dealt with quickly. He warned too that the Islamic State (IS) would “stop at nothing” to consolidate its presence and influence in Libya and were doing so at present because of the existing mistrust between the two sides.
“The overall situation on the ground is deteriorating rapidly,” he told the Security Council yesterday in a video conference. “Unless Libya’s leaders act quickly and decisively, the risks to their country’s national unity and territorial integrity are real and imminent.”
Explaining to the Council that both the House of Representatives and the General National Congress had agreed to join the latest round of talks tomorrow in Morocco at which a government of national unity would be discussed along with a ceasefire, the withdrawal of militias from the cities and the completion of the constitution drafting process, Leon admitted that it was nonetheless an uphill struggle. “I cannot overstate the challenges facing the process,” he said.
He questioned the integrity of military leaders in relation to the dialogue. The attacks by both sides on infrastructural facilities including airports just a day after the two sides had agreed to go to Morocco “calls into question the commitment of those responsible behind these latest acts of aggression”, he said.
Libya’s political leaders had a clear legal duty to prevent any further attacks by such military forces, he insisted.
He also criticised parts of the Libyan media for a “campaign of misinformation” about the dialogue.
In addition to the warnings, Leon told the Council that if and when the participants in the dialogue came up with a roadmap to end the crisis, the active support of the international community would be needed to make it work. It would have to come up with a strategy for technical assistance to ensure effective improvements to the lives of ordinary Libyans, he said. It would also have to move quickly to come up with an “articulated strategy in support of the Libyan State and the efforts of a national unity government in combatting the growing threat of terrorism”.
Twenty-three political delegates, representing the House of Representatives, the rump General National Congress and their various colleagues and advisers are due to fly to the Morocco tomorrow for the latest round. UNSMIL has not revealed the location but it is widely believed to be outside Marrakech.
Following that, UNSMIL is convening a meeting of prominent Libyan political leaders and activists in Algeria early next week and then one of municipal representatives in Brussels. A fourth meeting, of tribal leaders, will take place after that, “very probably in Egypt” according to Leon. [/restrict]