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Libya: UN mission chief condemns Shahat attack, pledges support to end crisis

Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon.
UN Photo/Amanda Voisard
Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon.

Libya: UN mission chief condemns Shahat attack, pledges support to end crisis

The top United Nations official in Libya has strongly condemned the “cowardly” attack that occurred yesterday close to where he was meeting with the country’s Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, in the eastern city of Shahat to discuss how to put the political transition back on track.

“I am not in a position to pass judgment on the apparent motive or the target behind the attack, but I can assure everyone that [it will in no way] have any impact on our work,” Mr. Bernardino Léon, who heads the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said today in a statement released by his Office.

Mr. Léon was meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the latest developments in the embattled North African nation when the two explosions occurred nearby. No one from either delegation was hurt.

Such attacks “make us more determined to push for solutions to Libya’s crisis” around which there is consensus, and would pave the way to a return to an inclusive political process, Mr. Léon said.

Last week, Libya’s Supreme Court declared the national Parliament unconstitutional. The Libyan Parliament which was elected on 25 June was welcomed by the UN mission in the hopes that the politicians would lead the country toward peace through inclusive political dialogue.

Mr. Léon called on political actors today to agree on a ceasefire and alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people. He also urged all parties to put the high national interest “above all considerations, and take no action that would further complicate the situation.”

Yesterday Mr. Léon also met in al-Baida with the Chairman of the Constitution-Drafting Assembly (CDA), Dr. Ali Tahini, for an update on the CDA’s work and to discuss UN technical assistance.

He pledged that UNSMIL will continue its efforts to support Libyans to overcome the challenges facing their democratic transition and the building of a modern state with strong institutions based on respect for human rights and rule of law.

We call on all to make greater efforts to work collaboratively to find consensual solutions that safeguard Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and uphold the country’s democratic transition for which the Libyan people have made huge sacrifices, Mr. Léon said.

He reiterated that United Nations is impartial and neutral in its approach and wants the best solutions for the Libyans, but it is for the Libyans themselves to come up with these solutions. Mr. Léon said that he will continue mediation efforts, travelling to Tobruk and Tripoli for further consultations before putting a proposal on the way forward.