By Sami Zaptia.
London, 12 August 2021:
Making his closing remarks to the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s (LPDF) virtual meeting yesterday, UNSMIL Coordinator Raisedon Zenenga told the gathered that the up-coming in-person Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s (LPDF) meeting must take a final decision on the constitutional basis for the planned 24 December 2021 elections.
Here are his closing remarks:
- Distinguished members of the LPDF, on behalf of the Special Envoy and the entire UNSMIL team, I wish to thank you for conducting your discussions in a constructive manner, focusing on the priority task at hand, which is to find a way forward to finalize a constitutional basis for the 24 December national elections.
- First, let me commend the members of the Proposals Bridging Committee for their efforts over the past three and a half weeks, in particular those members who presented and explained their proposals to the LPDF plenary today.
- The sponsors of the four proposals made it clear that they are living documents that remain open to changes, including to possible merging.
- I encourage you all to work in this direction. UNSMIL and international partners are ready to offer ideas on how this could be achieved and what a reasonable compromise could look like.
- The responsibility to finalize the constitutional basis for the elections rests with you. UNSMIL and Libya’s international partners are here to support and assist.
- If you agree, we are ready to look at the various proposals that have been put forward from the beginning until now, and offer suggestions on how a reasonable compromise could be constructed that bridges the differences among the parties.
- Although the Proposals Bridging Committee came up with a recommendation on a voting mechanism, from today’s discussion it appears that many of you are not in favor of conducting a vote at this stage. We sincerely hope that a divisive vote can be avoided and a consensual way out of the current stalemate can be found. The focus should be on finding negotiated resolutions to the already identified contentious issues from the Legal Committee’s proposal and beyond.
- Many of you emphasized the importance of adhering to the Roadmap, a message that UNSMIL has consistently reminded the LPDF and its Committees of. Some of you asked the Mission to state clearly which elements in the proposals fall outside the scope of the Roadmap, while others mentioned that the reality today is not the same as in November 2020 when you adopted the Roadmap.
- We would like to emphasize that it is your Roadmap. You are its authors, its owners, and its custodians. It is therefore your role and responsibility to preserve its integrity and determine which ideas fall outside its scope or contradict its objectives.
- It is also your responsibility to determine whether adjustments are required, without undermining the main objective of the Roadmap, which is to provide the Libyan people the opportunity to elect their representatives and renew the legitimacy of their institutions through the ballot boxes on 24 December.
- Elections on 24 December are critical to achieving the aspirations of the Libyan people, to resolving the long-standing divisions in the country, and to ending the vicious cycle of transitional governments.
- It is important to always bear this in mind as you continue your work, so that you may avoid approaches that would exacerbate existing divisions or undermine this ultimate national objective.
- As the Special Envoy indicated in his opening remarks, UNSMIL intends to convene an in-person meeting of the LPDF soon. The Special Envoy will be traveling to Libya soon for consultations with all relevant political and military players in order to prepare the ground for the in-person meeting.
- You too, as the decision-makers, cannot go to such a meeting ill-prepared. I strongly encourage you not only to continue negotiations among yourselves but also to engage your constituencies as well as Libya’s political leaders, to find common ground and determine where compromises are possible.
- In conclusion, I wish to stress, once again, that with only 133 days to go before the 24 December election date, time is not on our side. The upcoming in-person meeting must therefore take a final decision on the constitutional basis for the elections.