The Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General (ASRSG) and Head of the United Mission Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams convened today the second virtual meeting of the second round of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF). Participants continued discussions and provided suggestions on selection modalities for the unified executive authority to implement the preparatory period leading to national elections to be held on December 24, 2021.
In her closing remarks, ASRSG Williams reminded the participants of the need to move forward with the process. She stressed that “the situation in Libya remained fragile and dangerous” and described a country plagued by falling “standards of living” coupled with “ lack of services, economic deterioration, a severe banking crisis, divisions in sovereign and financial institutions” all of which, she added, were negatively “affecting average Libyans directly, a record number of whom are now in need of humanitarian assistance.”
Taking into consideration the concerns and difficulties raised by the participants with regard to the use of digital survey tools for the selection mechanisms and reiterating the need to move forward promptly with the dialogue process, ASRSG Williams informed participants that the Mission would provide a working solution that would ensure transparency and confidentiality so as to finalise the discussions on the unified executive selection mechanism.
ASRSG Stephanie Williams closing remarks
Virtual meeting of the second round of the LPDF – 25 November 2020
I want to thank everyone who made an intervention today. I certainly listened very carefully to what you had said
First of all, the mission is not spinning, is not in the business of distorting what is happening in the dialogue or what is happening in Libya.
I would point you to my Security Council briefing last Thursday. I would point you to the many press conference and interviews I have given.
I have been extremely clear about how fragile and dangerous the situation in your country is. We have three official tracks that we are involved in – from the Mission - with Libyan participants in the Berlin process. We saw that there was some progress on the military track. We had the 5+5 [JMC] agree on a nationwide ceasefire [agreement].
I sat with the officers in the 5+5 now in several meetings and I had intensive discussions with them. One of their major requests is that the political dialogue [LPDF] succeed. They would like Libyan institutions to be united.
I have had many sessions with the economic experts in the Libyan economic track. There we focused mostly on the need to unify the sovereign and financial institutions of the country and they focused on the real economic crisis that the country continues to face.
We also have several sub-tracks, they are the municipalities, youth and women.
In the municipalities track – and I have been in touch with many mayors since our meeting in Tunis – they are focused on the lack of services.
In the Youth track the number one request is for there to be national elections as soon as possible.
In the women’s track there was also a request for elections and the unification of the institutions.
I will be talking officially now to the participants in these tracks over the next week. Many of them are watching the political track very closely. They did see that they were some positive progress in Tunis.
I certainly understand and appreciate that having virtual meetings presents technological difficulties. And I do thank you for your patience.
I have heard the concerns about doing surveys or voting via a virtual platform. I have also heard the desire that we seek consensus.
But I also believe that is something that we can aim for. We can continue to make that our goal.
Now, where are we; we have a crisis in the country with regard to standards of living, lack of services, economic deterioration, a severe banking crisis, divisions in your sovereign and financial institutions, which are affecting the population, the average Libyans directly.
As I reported to the Security Council. The UN is expecting that in 2021 there will be 1.3 million Libyans in need of assistance from the United Nations.
That is a major increase in the number of Libyans requiring assistance. That should be a major red-light flashing that steps need to be taken.
I don’t need to tell you and I don’t need to tell the participants from Fezzan, from the South, that the humanitarian crisis in southern Libya is most severe.
I am going to reflect on what Sheikh Barghouti said and what I’ve heard from many of you today, which was, “Put the country ahead of personal interests.”
These are exceptional times. It is difficult for us to arrange physical meeting and I have made that very clear.
So, before we go to a physical meeting, we need progress. What I propose - and understanding that the virtual platform technology is problematic - I believe we have a solution, a compromise.
It is the same method of selection that we used do to bring the 13 members of the House of Representative who were elected/selected to come to the dialogue.
We will reach out to all of you by telephone and then we will have a written confirmation of your vote.
We will use the consensus rule as has been the consensus of this group. This will be conducted in an atmosphere of complete transparency with you and with the public.
We will then make a decision on moving to a physical meeting. That will be obviously connected to the nomination process.
I would particularly like to thank those participants who came in, as requested by the Mission, with their own proposal with 10 signatures. That shows a real commitment and seriousness with regard to this process.
What I will do over the next week is to provide you with a direct feedback of what I am hearing from the other tracks; from the youth, the women, municipalities, the economic and the military track.
It is very important that you have a full understanding of what the Mission is doing, of our outreach and of the feedback that we are receiving.
I thank many of you for your productive interventions; they really have helped us to inform the discussions.