UN envoy welcomes 'historic' signing of Libyan Political Agreement
17 December 2015 – Representatives from a broad range of Libyan society today signed a United Nations-brokered agreement on forming a national unity government, a move welcomed by the top UN official in the country as among the "essential building blocks towards a peaceful, secure and prosperous Libya," but also as "the beginning of a difficult journey" along that path.
"Today is an historic day for Libya," said Martin Kobler, the UN Special Representative for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in the country (UNSMIL), in a statement following the signing that took place in Skhirat, Morocco.
Mr. Kobler said that "after a period of political divisions and conflict, Libya is restarting its political transition" with the agreement that "puts in place a single set of legitimate institutions – essential building blocks towards a peaceful, secure and prosperous Libya."
He noted that participating in the signing were representatives of a broad range of Libyan society including members of the House of Representatives and the General National Congress, as well as important public figures from Libyan political parties, civil society, municipalities and women groups.
The UN envoy also said "the door remains wide open to those who were not present here today" because "the Government of National Accord must be a government for all Libyans back in the capital in Tripoli."
He cautioned, however, that: "We must not forget that this is the beginning of a difficult journey."
"There is a critical need for national reconciliation and an inclusive national security dialogue," he added. "Urgent solutions must be found to bolster the Libyan-led fight against terrorism and in particular the threat of Da'esh [also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL]."
He also noted that the "dire humanitarian situation in Benghazi and other areas needs to be addressed as a matter of highest priority, including through the establishment of a dedicated reconstruction fund for Benghazi."
More than 2.4 million people require immediate humanitarian assistance, of which 435,000 are estimated to be internally displaced, according to the UN.
"The signing of the Libyan Political Agreement is the first step on the path of building a democratic Libyan state based on the principles of human rights and the rule of law," Mr. Kobler said.
He vowed that the United Nations will continue to offer support to the new government, and that the international community has committed to extend assistance to Libya upon request of the new unity government.
Libya has been plagued by factional fighting since the 2011 revolution, with the situation continuing to deteriorate in recent months amid significant political fragmentation and violence.
Following broad consultations throughout the year facilitated by the Secretary-General's former Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino León, it was announced in mid-October that a national unity government could be proposed. The names of candidates for the government's top council were put forward but at that time, the deal stalled when some parties failed to sign off.
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