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UN to help Libya in post-conflict period, says top official

(Xinhua)

11:04, August 26, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Under- Secretary-General for political affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told reporters here Thursday that the UN will assist Libya at the directives of its new government after the current conflict in the North African nation has come to a close.

"One thing that the National Transitional Council (NTC) has made very clear is they expect the UN to play a strong role in the post-conflict period," said Pascoe.

The month-long conflict between Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan government and the NTC rebels appears to be coming to an end as rebel forces overrun Tripoli while the whereabouts of Gaddafi remain unknown.

Pascoe said the UN's future activities in a post-conflict Libya depend on requests from the Libyan people and new Libyan authorities.

"Let me state first that any process will be a Libyan-led one," he said. "What we are doing is trying to help them. We are not imposing or coming with our own ideas."

According to Pascoe, Ian Martin, the UN special advisor dealing with post-conflict planning in Libya as well as Abdel-Elah Al Khatib, UN special envoy to the country have been engaged in discussions about the African nation's future.

Martin is currently in Istanbul attending a contact group meeting on Libya.

Pascoe said Martin has been "in charge of the process for the secretary-general trying to look at the issues that are out there, ways that we may be helpful, and things that we could do to help a new government get established and carry through with the kind of free and open democracy that they want and that we want."

There are many areas where the UN could support Libya, said Pascoe, with regard to the establishment of a government, as well as the development of accountable institutions, and reconciliation issues.

The UN's expertise on security could also be quite helpful, though there are currently no plans to deploy UN peacekeepers to the country, Pascoe explained.

"We also know some things about security issues in terms of dealing with disarmament, dealing with the control of anti mines, with unexplored ordinance," he said. "There is a whole range of issues where you know that we have been quite busy down through the years and have had a lot of involvement."

Addressing concerns about the movement of arms around Libya and across borders, Pascoe noted that the Security Council Resolution 1973 which was passed in March has authorized measures to enforce an arms embargo on the country.

"We have been talking about the possibility of some arms monitors that would be there, as you will recall this was part of the Resolution 1973," he told reporters. "So we have people and we can be helpful if they want our help."

Discussion of Libya will continue in the Security Council with a new draft resolution designed to undo the asset freeze imposed on the Gaddafi regime through Security Council Resolution 1970 passed in February. The unfrozen assets would be used to help the Libyan people.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also due to hold a meeting on the situation in Libya here Friday that will include the European Union, African Union, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

"We'll have a good discussion," said Pascoe on the upcoming meeting.

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