Martin Kobler: Escalating violence and hateful rhetoric threaten widespread conflict in Libya

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20 March 2017 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, warns of dangerous escalation across Libya emanating from the deteriorating security situation in Tripoli and events in Misrata and Benghazi.

"I call for all parties to put Libya and the unity of Libya ahead of their own narrow interests. The violence, hate speech, and mutilation of corpses in Libya is completely unacceptable. Calm must be restored immediately, democratic bodies and ideals must be respected and freedom of speech must be protected," said Martin Kobler.

The Special Representative appealed to the Libyan institutions to commit to advancing the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and swiftly implement the security arrangements in Tripoli which provide for the withdrawal of armed groups from the capital and the deployment of army and police. “Do not let the agenda be driven by violence on the ground and extremism,” he added.

The Special Representative warned that the mobilisation of forces and hostile acts and rhetoric present a real risk that the country will slide into widespread military confrontation. He noted the international community’s strong commitment to Libya. This was again demonstrated at the 18 March Quartet meeting which called for member states to exert their influence with the parties to pull Libya back from the brink and re-engage in the political process.

“The responsbility, however, lies first and foremost with the Libyans themselves to end this escalating violence,” stressed Martin Kobler. “All political and security stakeholders in a position to influence their constituencies should act now.”