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Libya: UN envoy envisages flexible, integrated mission to support transition

Special Representative Ian Martin.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
Special Representative Ian Martin.

Libya: UN envoy envisages flexible, integrated mission to support transition

The top United Nations envoy for Libya told the Security Council today that the Organization’s mission in the North African country plans to maintain a “light footprint” there while striving to provide flexible, responsive and high quality expertise to support the democratic transition.

“We recommended that this support be provided in the form of a structurally integrated mission to maximize the impact of the entire United Nations system,” said Ian Martin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), in a briefing to Council.

He said the proposed structure of UNSMIL would be based on a relatively small, high-level core staff, who would have advisory and coordination roles in their respective expertise, as well as the capacity to mobilize additional support when needed.

He added that UNSMIL should, over the next 12 months, focus on five main areas – the democratic transition and electoral process; public security; the prevention of arms proliferation and border security; human rights, transitional justice and the rule of law; and coordination of international assistance.

“It is our intention to build on the conclusions of the report of the Secretary-General on Civilian Capacity to design new and more flexible ways to mobilize civilian expertise in support of the Libyans,” he said.

“Maintaining a capacity to respond to emerging needs is a key part of our mission,” said Mr. Martin, calling for the support of the Council in agreeing to the Government of Libya’s request and the Secretary-General’s recommendation that UNSMIL’s mandate be extended for 12 months.

He emphasized the importance of ensuring that women are involved in the transition through greater participation in the democratic process. The youth also expect to be fully involved in the transition, Mr. Martin said, stressing that their participation will be a constant interest of the mission over the next one year.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib told the Council that a law on transitional justice and national reconciliation had been established and that reconciliation committees had already helped settle many tribal differences, enabling many displaced people to return to their homes.

He said that “elements” that supported the former ruler, the late Muammar al-Qadhafi, and perpetrated grave violations against the Libya people will be brought to justice, including Mr. Qadhafi’s son Seif.

He called for international cooperation in apprehending and surrendering to Libya pro-Qadhafi individuals to face trial.

“Many fugitives still move at large and constitute a grave menace to the security of Libya and the region,” he said. He also expressed concern that some States are not properly safeguarding Libyan assets in their territories and requested the international community’s support to ensure that such property was protected.