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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN envoy says Libya on cusp of 'decisive moment' as parties resume peace talks

20 March 2015 – Negotiations between Libyan parties are entering a "decisive round" as continued fighting and the menace of terrorism cast a sense of urgency to the United Nations-facilitated talks, a senior official for the Organization said today.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon, warned that fighting and airstrikes in Libya and recent terrorist attacks elsewhere in the region had sounded "another alarm" regarding the delicate nature of the country's peace-building process.

Mr. Léon was speaking in Morocco, where stakeholders resumed the political dialogue aimed at reaching an agreement to draw Libya out of its crisis and bring peace and stability.

"We have to praise them and praise those who are working for peace and to remind them that not only the United Nations team, not only the international community, all of us, all the world is expecting them to come in a spirit of compromise," the UN official told reporters.

"They have to be ready, I insist, to agree with the other, and this means making concessions, not trying to get everything, not trying to win with 100 per cent the result in your favour but trying to understand that this is a give-and-take process."

Mr. Léon explained that the stakeholders would discuss, over the following three days, a series of documents pertaining to security arrangements and a national unity government as well as a confidence building measures document which, he added, would be "ready and if possible, published" by 22 March.

On Monday, immediately after the talks, Mr. Léon would then fly to Brussels to attend the opening of the municipalities confidence-building measures meeting which would generate "a very important input" for all stakeholders.

"This should send a strong message to the Libyan people that the negotiators are not only here to talk, to meet, which is of course also important, but also to reach agreement," he continued. "Only this agreement, only this unity government, these decisions taken by all the actors, the political and the military, the armed groups, will give a chance to Libya to get out of the crisis."

Against that backdrop, Mr. Léon also cautioned about the growing terrorist threat in Libya and across the region amid deadly, sporadic attacks by militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He noted that the international community was following very closely and with "increasing concern" the situation of terrorism, adding that Libya, in particular, was "a critical case."

While admitting that he is not normally a "very dramatic" person, the envoy said, "In this case, I think we are in the decisive moment. And parties should be aware that […] if they are not able to take the right decisions, Libya will go back to war again and we know this is a war that nobody can win. This is a war as we have seen in other countries in the region that may last for years and may produce suffering for years."

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