UN official says Security Council talks on sending mission to Libya underway

UN official says Security Council talks on sending mission to Libya underway
# 10 September 2011 01:00 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Ian Martin, the UN secretary-general’s special advisor on post-conflict planning in Libya, said here Friday that the Security Council is commencing discussions about a proposed UN support mission to the troubled North African country, APA reports.

"I think it’s fair to say that those proposals got a very strong and united welcome around the table at the Security Council this morning but of course they’re now beginning the discussion on an actual resolution and I hope that it will be adopted as soon as possible so we can begin delivering to Libya some of the priority areas of assistance they’ve requested," said Martin.

The special envoy’s statements came as he addressed reporters outside the council chamber. He had been briefing the council on the situation in Libya after a recent 5-day visit to the country, where he spoke to officials from the National Transitional Council (NTC), including its chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

Before arriving in Libya, Martin was in Paris, attending the international "Friends of Libya" meeting in Paris along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban outlined his proposal for a mission in Libya to the Security Council through a letter that has been made public Friday.

Martin told reporters that the outlined plan in Ban’s letter sets a course for a potential mission, but that the Security Council has the final say in determining the mission’s actual mandate.

"The proposals of the secretary-general are for a support mission that would be initially mandated for a three-month period, that would give us the opportunity both to bring in personnel and to provide some initial advice and assistance in the areas the Libyans have identified but at the same time continue a discussion with them to plan longer-term UN support," said Martin.

He added that after its initial deployment, the mission would go back to the Security Council to obtain "a longer mandate, presumably the more usual 12 months but with clauses that by then come out of a further engagement between the UN and the Libyan authorities in the country."

Ban’s letter to the Security Council, dated Sept. 7, details the proposal for an operation called the UN Integrated Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to deploy at what he referred to as a " critical moment" for Libya.

Libya is currently experiencing what appears to be the last throes of a months-long conflict between the regime of Muammar Gaddafi and rebels under the NTC. The NTC has taken Tripoli from Gaddafi loyalists, and the Gaddafi himself is nowhere to be found.

As proposed, UNSMIL would be a mission guided by principles of Libyan national ownership, rapid responses to needs of the Libyan people, and effective delivery and coordination of international assistance, according to the letter.

"It will consist of substantive and mission support personnel with a broad range of political, electoral, constitutional, human rights, transitional justice, public security, rule of law, coordination, gender and other technical skills in the priority areas requested by the Libyan transitional authorities," said Ban’ s letter.

As is the case with all UN missions, the 15-member Security Council will have to vote to approve the components and deployment of UNSMIL.

While speaking to reporters, Martin said that the situation on the ground in Tripoli is progressing positively.

"In many ways I think the swift transition there has been an extraordinary achievement," he said. "There’s been very little damage to infrastructure. The most serious immediate humanitarian concern, which was the disruption of the water supply, has been rapidly alleviated with some much appreciated assistance from the United Nations, UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) in particular," he said.

Martin said that schools in Tripoli are set open on Sept. 17. He said that the police system is gearing up and that fuel and electricity supplies in the city have been improving.

"That should not lead to any underestimation of both the short- term and the longer-term challenges the new authorities are going to face in Libya," said Martin.

He noted that the NTC has not yet established full control over the national territory, cited the need to establish an effective police force; and highlighted the major concern, especially of Libya’s neighbors, of the proliferation of weapons.

"And despite the consistent messages of NTC leaders appealing against revenge, there have been very serious violations of human rights, especially of sub-Saharan Africans accused often, I think quite wrongly, of having fought for the Qadhafi regime," he said.

"On the human rights front, of course, terrible evidence continues to come to light of deliberate human rights abuses and crimes of the Qadhafi regime, both those that took place over many years and during the fall of Tripoli, when many of their prisoners were massacred," he added.

"This is going to be a very heavy burden for Libya’s new leaders as they seek to show that there will be accountability within the law for the worst violations, but at the same time promote national reconciliation," he said.
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