UN organising national conference in Libya in coming weeks

2019-01-19 14:07


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The United Nations is seeking to hold a conference in Libya in the coming weeks to agree on a national agenda to rebuild the fractured north African nation and spell out the path to elections, the UN envoy said on Friday.

Ghassan Salame said in a video briefing to the Security Council that the UN will announce the date and place of the National Conference once Libyan representatives agree on "the essential ingredients for a new consensus on a national agenda."

"We are working night and day to pull together these various elements to ensure the most productive event," he said.

Salame stressed that only Libyans can plot a way out of the political deadlock in the country which "has been underpinned by a complex web of narrow interests, a broken legal framework, and the pillaging of Libya's great wealth".

Libya plunged into chaos after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi and is now governed by rival administrations in the east and west. It has also become a haven for armed groups, including several from neighboring countries, which survive on looting and human trafficking.

Salame cited some progress in Libya in recent months to stabilize the country and improve living conditions including a September cease-fire which has generally brought calm to the capital, Tripoli, but has been broken including on December 25 with an attack by Islamic State extremists on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and two days ago with renewed clashes.

On another positive note, UN envoy said the economy has continued to stabilise, and the black-market price of the Libyan Dinar against the US dollar "has collapsed" as a result of measures announced last September.

"Inflation has steadied and commodity prices have dropped substantially," Salame said. "In a country that imports a huge part of its needs in hard currency, prices are down sometimes by 40%."

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

But the UN envoy said: "there is an imperative to improve security across the country," citing terrorist strikes in various towns and cities

Salame said he heard first-hand about "the wanton brutality" of Islamic State militants, foreign mercenaries and criminals who prey on citizens and migrants during a trip a few days ago to southern Libya, the first by a UN envoy since 2012.

"The south remains Libya's vulnerable heart, encompassing almost 1 million square kilometers of land," he said. "The source of much of the nation's natural wealth, through its water and oil, has been woefully neglected."

Salame said oil production had topped one million barrels a day, "driving much needed revenue into the treasury," but disturbances at southern oil fields over the lack of services in the region have recently reduced production.

Calling recent gains "fragile and reversible," he stressed that "concerted national leadership" is key to uniting the country and improving the economy.

"I beseech the members of the various Libyan institutions to see the National Conference as a patriotic concern that transcends partisan and personal interests."

Salame warned of "spoilers" who seek to undermine the conference, "particularly individuals hoping to delay elections so they may remain in their (parliamentary) seats."

"Without the concerted support of the international community, spoilers will sabotage the political process and undo any progress made," he said.

Read more on:    un  |  libya  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.