Outgoing UN Libya envoy urges factions to accept unity plan

2015-11-06 16:05
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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New York - The outgoing United Nations envoy to Libya on Thursday urged Libya's rival factions to halt their attempts to obstruct a power-sharing plan intended to end a long-standing political crisis in the conflict torn country.

Bernardino Leon, who is due to be replaced soon by veteran German diplomat Martin Kobler, also defended himself against suggestions that it was a conflict of interest for him to accept a job in the United Arab Emirates training diplomats from one of the Arab countries most involved in the Libyan crisis.

"I urge the respective leaderships ... to listen to calls within their respective houses, and those of the Libyan people, and to desist from any further attempts and manoeuvrings to obstruct the democratic process," Leon told the UN Security Council.

Libya has fallen into turmoil with its internationally recognized government and elected parliament on one side and a self-styled administration holding Tripoli on the other, each backed by regional, tribal or Islamist armed factions.

After months of deadlocked negotiations, Leon recently presented Libya's rival factions with a proposed national unity government, but hard-liners on both sides have resisted power-sharing.

"There is a growing sense of urgency [in Libya] ... that the country should no longer be held hostage to the narrow interests of a few on either side of the political divide," Leon said.

Mediation process

In the four years since the fall of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, chaos has allowed Islamic State militants to gain a foothold in the country.

Responding to questions from reporters about whether his decision to accept a job in UAE represented a conflict of interest, Leon acknowledged that it did not have good "optics."

The Tripoli faction has already made clear its displeasure, saying Leon was biased in favour of their internationally recognised rival administration in the east.

"I think the [Tripoli faction] shouldn't worry," he said.

Along with Egypt, UAE backs the internationally recognised government led by Abdullah al-Thinni operating in the east.

Emirates Diplomatic Academy said on Wednesday that Leon will become director-general in December.

Leon said he has been criticised by one side or the other throughout the mediation process "day and night," adding that it came with the job.

The UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters than Leon's work as a diplomat "speaks for itself."

Read more on:    un  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

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