Libyan parties should move towards negotiations to solve crisis: UN official

08:08, June 01, 2011      

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B. Lynn Pascoe, the UN under- secretary-general for political affairs, said in the United Nations Tuesday that the immediate goal in Libya is to engage the parties in indirect negotiations that could help move a months-long crisis towards an end.

"We believe that this process is crucial in our efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis, which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and corresponds with resolutions 1970 and 1973," Pascoe said when he was briefing the UN Security Council on the current situation in Libya.

Resolutions 1970 and 1973 were passed by the Security Council earlier this year to deal with the conflict in Libya between the government forces of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebel forces opposing his rule. Resolution 1970 placed an arms embargo and sanctions on officials of the Gaddafi government, while Resolution 1973 authorized the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya that is currently enforced by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Pascoe said that Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib, the special envoy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Libya, has presented proposals to both the Gaddafi regime and the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) on how indirect negotiations could be conducted.

"The parties in Libya remain far apart on even beginning negotiations to resolve the conflict," Pascoe said. "The Libyan government has repeatedly called for a cease-fire, including an end to NATO operations, as a pre-requisite for negotiations. For its part, the TNC maintains that negotiations on a cease-fire and other related aspects can only start with the removal from power of Colonel Gaddafi and members of his family and the withdrawal of the Libyan army from cities forcibly occupied after the breakout of hostilities."

The conflict in Libya has been discussed in many fora since it began. On May 25, the African Union (AU) held a summit where Ban, Pascoe, and Al-Khatib held discussions with African leaders on the situation.

"While there were strongly divided comments by leaders at the meeting, the final communique stated that only a political solution to the current conflict would make it possible to promote sustainable peace in Libya and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people," Pascoe said. "It called for an end to the coalition bombing campaign."

At the Group of Eight (G-8) summit held in Deauville, France, on May 26-27, the secretary-general called for more humanitarian assistance to Libya and spoke with high-level officials.

"In their final declaration, G-8 leaders demanded the immediate cessation of the use of force against civilians b the Libyan regime forces as well as the end of all incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population," Pascoe said.

Al-Khatib will return to Tripoli this week to continue his work, Pascoe told the Security Council.

Meanwhile, the UN is currently working on contingency plans for post-conflict peace building in Libya. According to Pascoe, pre- assessment process for peace building has already been launched.

"Of course the plan will be guided by the principle that the fate of Libya is to be decided by the Libyan people, and that their representatives must determine what assistance they would like from the international community," Pascoe said.

In addition to discussing Libya's future, Pascoe also focused on the pressing needs in Libya in the present.

The Regional Flash Appeal for the Libyan Crisis, which totals 407 million U.S. dollars, is about 46 percent funded, he said.

"I reiterate the secretary-general's appeal for increased support for humanitarian assistance, both for affected populations in Libya and in neighboring countries," Pascoe said. "All parties to the conflict must take measures to spare civilians from the effects of the hostilities."

The fighting in Libya has caused difficulties for people all over the region, with 893,000 people forced to flee Libya, and 5, 000 stranded at the country's borders, Pascoe reported. He added that 50,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) are living in the east of Libya in spontaneous settlements.

Pascoe said that the human rights situation in Libya "remains deeply troubling."

"In her briefing to the Human Rights Council (HRC) yesterday, the High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the brutality and magnitude of measures taken by the government in Libya and described its actions as being 'particularly shocking in their outright disregard for basic human rights,'" he said. "We have also seen shocking reports of sexual violence against women including gang rapes by the military forces."

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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