Wednesday, 19/2/2020 | 6:33 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Secretary-General Urges Immediate Action to Avert Full-Scale Civil War in Libya, Warning about Risk of Regional Escalation, at International Conference

Following are UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' remarks at the International Conference on Libya, in Berlin today:

We are here for an urgent and pressing reason: to stop Libya's downward spiral.

I thank Chancellor Merkel for bringing us together to support efforts to end the conflict in Libya. I am grateful to the Federal Republic of Germany for this important initiative � and I welcome the presence today of such a large number of distinguished Heads of State and Government. I also want to thank the leaders of our sister organizations, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and the Presidents of the European Council and the European Union Commission for their strong support in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Libya.

One year ago, Libyans � with the support of the international community � were taking hopeful steps to move the country forward through a political solution.

Those hopes were dashed in April. Since then, the conflict around Tripoli has killed and injured thousands, including hundreds of civilians. International humanitarian law has been defied again and again. More than 170,000 people have been forced from their homes. More than 220 schools in Tripoli are closed, depriving 116,000 children of their basic human right to an education. Migrants and refugees, trapped in detention centres near the fighting, have also been affected and continue to suffer in horrendous conditions.

This terrible situation cannot be allowed to continue. Libya has been dragged into an ever deeper and destructive conflict with a growing number of external actors also involved. We face a clear risk of regional escalation.

I truly believe that there is no military solution in Libya. Now is the time for immediate and decisive action to prevent a full-fledged civil war. Such a conflict could lead to a humanitarian nightmare and leave the country vulnerable to permanent division.

For Libya's immediate neighbours � the southern Mediterranean and the Sahel region in particular � the consequences are stark and palpable: more terrorism, more human trafficking, more smuggling of drugs and weapons and people.

We are not winning the fight against terrorism on the African continent � just look at the Sahel and the Lake Chad. I firmly believe that we will not succeed without peace and stability in Libya.

Today, we come together to do our part to ensure a peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis that the people of Libya � and, indeed, the world � so desperately need.

We reiterate our call to all those directly or indirectly involved in the conflict to do everything to support an effective cessation of hostilities and silence the guns. Incessant, blatant violations of the Security Council-imposed arms embargo must stop.

We welcome the recent ceasefire and pledge to work together to seize the momentum and strengthen ceasefire arrangements. We urge the Libyan parties to engage in good faith dialogue on political, economic and military issues in a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive process.

The United Nations is fully committed to continue our support for such a process. We are here today to create an enabling international environment for Libyans themselves to come together to find solutions.

The Berlin Communique reiterates principles that are fundamental to the preservation of international peace and security, such as sovereignty and non-interference and respect for international law, including resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. It also includes a concrete follow-up mechanism to maintain the momentum and track progress.

We must move from words to action. Our credibility as a community of nations is being tested. For my part, I pledge that the United Nations will fully support all efforts to translate words into concrete progress on the ground. We will stand with the Libyan people as they work to resolve their differences through discussion and compromise in good faith and chart a way to a more peaceful future.

I count on your full support and I thank you.

Source: UN Secretary-General

-->