Thursday, August 5, 2021

Humanitarian crisis: UN chief urges countries to support Libya with $189m

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United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has urged countries to support a 189 million dollars humanitarian response plan for Libya which is currently over 20 per cent funded.

Mr Guterres, who made the call to the Berlin II Conference aimed at shoring up Libya after a decade of civil conflict, expressed concern over “the serious and deteriorating humanitarian situation” in the country.

In a video message on Wednesday, the secretary-general said that some 1.3 million people (400,000 more than in 2020) required aid relief.

According to him, full implementation of a historic ceasefire agreement and the withdrawal of foreign forces are critical for consolidating peace in Libya.

Mr Guterres commended military representatives from Libya’s rival sides, for their work to implement the October 2020 truce, reached under the auspices of the UN mission in the country, UNSMIL.

“The United Nations is fully committed to facilitating the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned processes in support of the ceasefire agreement, national reconciliation and transitional justice, and the holding of elections on 24 December.

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“I encourage Libyan authorities and institutions to shoulder their responsibilities and move forward together towards stability and unity; the future of Libya is in their hands,” he said.

The secretary-general underlined the need for support for the Libyan-led ceasefire monitoring mechanism, with the first group of UN monitors set to deploy to the capital, Tripoli, soon.

“We must put an end to all foreign interference, including the full withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.

“I urge Libyan and external parties to agree on a comprehensive plan with clear timelines to achieve this goal, which UNSMIL stands ready to support,” he said.

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The UN has continued to uphold efforts towards advancing an inclusive and comprehensive political solution in Libya.

The country descended into political chaos and violence, following the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi a decade ago.

As a result, Libya became divided between two rival administrations, with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the west, and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) controlling large areas in the east.

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Political dialogue in the wake of the historic ceasefire agreement resulted in a roadmap for presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as the appointment of Government of National Unity in March.

While welcoming the progress on the political track, the secretary-general stated that improving security for ordinary citizens, and building confidence and trust will be key.

Among the unity government’s top tasks is organising December’s elections and Guterres has called on the House of Representatives to clarify the constitutional basis for the vote, and adopt the necessary legislation.

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“National elections should be a time for unity.

“All Libyans, including women, youth and internally displaced people, should be able to participate freely in the elections on 24 December, as candidates and voters.

“Incitement to violence, harassment or hate speech should have no place in the electoral process,” he said.

The secretary-general stressed that progress on the military and political fronts would have to be accompanied by serious efforts to address the root causes of instability.

“This calls for an inclusive rights-based national reconciliation process, starting at the community level, with a focus on women and young people,” he said.

Mr Guterres, therefore, welcomed the government’s decision to establish a reconciliation commission.


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