To get cease-fire in Libya, there must agreement on political process: UN envoy

10:52, May 04, 2011      

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The UN special envoy to Libya, Abdelilah Al-Khatib, said here Tuesday that both sides of the Libyan conflict acknowledge the need for a cease-fire, but brokering such an outcome depends on getting the sides to agree on the nature of the political process that will follow.

Al-Khatib, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special envoy to Libya, made the statement as he briefed the Security Council on his recent missions to the North African country.

"The main difficulty at this stage is getting all sides to agree on the essential elements of a political process that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people," he told the 15-nation Security Council. "To achieve this, I hope to have your continued, full and unhindered support."

Political upheaval has led to war in Libya, where the government forces of Muammar Gaddafi are fighting rebels who have created their own governmental entity, the Transitional National Council (TNC).

On March 17, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1973, which authorized the implementation of a no-fly zone over Libya, prompting forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to support the rebels with air capabilities.

Al-Khatib said he traveled to Tripoli on April 17, where he participated in talks that resulted in an agreement with the government to allow humanitarian workers safe access to the country. On April 29, he traveled to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi where he met with the TNC.

During visits with both parties to the conflict, Al-Khatib told the Security Council, he reminded each of the need to work towards peace.

"I reiterated the call for the full implementation for a real and verifiable cease-fire as a first step on an inclusive political process that would lead to a truly genuine national dialogue and political transition," he said.

Al-Khatib said that both the national government and the TNC officials "have informed me that they were ready and willing to implement a cease-fire, provided that the other party does the same."

However, both sides have other conditions that they need to be met before such a cease-fire can be implemented, he explained.

The Libyan government, Al-Khatib said, requires that a cease- fire be accompanied by a cessation of NATO attacks.

"They have told me that if NATO attacks stopped, the Libyan government would be in a position to hold discussions about elections, democracy, and constitutional reform," he said. "The Libyan authorities stated that the way out of this impasse was to determine a specific date and time for a cease-fire under the supervision of impartial monitors, at which time the indiscriminate bombings against the military and civilians must simultaneously stop."

The special envoy added that the Libyan government favors a monitoring mechanism for the cease-fire that is coordinated by the UN with African Union (AU) collaboration.

"The TNC, on the other hand, have indicated to me that a cease- fire was not sufficient to end the conflict in Libya if it is not directly linked to the departure of Colonel Gaddafi and his family, " Al-Khatib said. "They have made it clear that their position is that no negotiations will take place with either Colonel Gaddafi or his family."

As for the negotiation process, the Libyan government, according to Al-Khatib, says it is ready for a national political dialogue to address reforms and noted that "national legal institutions have started investigating the events that led to the crisis in the country in an attempt to comply with Security Council Resolutions."

Al-Khatib said that the TNC has created a roadmap for transition for Libya.

"They called upon the international community to recognize the TNC as the legitimate and sole interlocutor between the Libyan people and the international community," he said. "The roadmap mentions the next steps on the political and economic domains that they envisage."

Al-Kahtib stressed the importance of coherence in the resolution of the Libyan conflict, as many actors have emerged and become involved.

"In order to be successful in this endeavor, it is important to strengthen a sense of convergence of goals and process among all actors who are working towards a peaceful solution for the Libyan conflict," he said. "Each country and regional organization that has undertaken efforts to find a lasting solution brings with them special assets and perspectives."

He called AU and other international organizations "critical" to moving towards an end to the violence in Libya and recounted a meeting of the AU Ad-Hoc High-Level Committee on Libya that he attended on April 25.

"The AU committee stands by its position that the Libyan parties should come to the negotiating table as part of a political process to discuss issues of major concern, including a cease-fire in the framework of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and that the African Union should play a major role in monitoring a cease-fire mechanism in close cooperation with the UN," he said.

Al-Khatib said that he remains engaged in trying to bring about a credible peace process and a cease-fire whether formal or initially informal, that will prevent the deaths of more innocent civilians.

"Both sides have expressed their agreement with the need for a veritable cease-fire and I am working with experts in the United Nations and with representative of regional organizations, especially the AU, on the specific modalities which could be involved," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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