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Leon demands UN support for expected government of national accord

Bernadino León Special Representative and Head of the UNSMIL

The top UN official in Libya, Bernardino Leon, told the security council that the only way Libya can have a peaceful governmental transition, is through a critical and facilitated effort in support of a future government of national accord, and by guaranteeing that an adequate security is achieved throughout Libya so the people living in the country can go back to their daily lives.

Leon also told the UN Security Council that “A Government of National Accord can be the only interlocutor through which the growing threat of Da’esh [also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL] and its affiliate groups can be effectively tackled”

He also emphasised the UN support in guaranteeing national ownership in the transitional process, he added “I am confident that the international community is ready to offer the needed support based on the priorities that the Libyans will identify.”

Leon also said, that over the past month, the situation in Libya has gone from bad to worse, in the midst of significant political fracture. The “chaos” taking place in Libya has allowed extremist groups to grow and flourish, with a “vacuum of authority” which has made Libya a “launching area for an unprecedented surge in dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean”, this is exploited by terrorists and human traffickers, as many refugees, asylum seekers and migrants flee to Europe from various parts of Africa.

Notwithstanding, Leon said, he was pleased to report to the council that many “courageous” Libyan political leaders had initialled the political concord, at the UN-led talks that took place in Skhirat, Morocco. When commenting on this he said, “This act signalled the adoption of a framework for further talks and has brought the country one step closer to ending the conflict and fulfilling the goals of the 2011 revolution.”

However, Ibrahim Dabbashi, the Libyan UN ambassador, has accused the UN Security Council of impeding its fight against terrorism, whilst the UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon, said that the threat of Islamic State will only exacerbate, until the warring parties reach an agreement on a solidarity national government.

Dabbashi, has stated that the Security Council Libya sanctions committee had not replied to the request to import weapons, tanks, jets and helicopters to Libya in order to have the means necessary to take down the IS threat in the region, he believes that the UN has “indirectly contributed to continuing instability” and that they are “entrenching terrorism” in Libya. Dabbashi also added, “There is premeditated hampering of the efforts of the Libyan government to strengthen its capacity to combat terrorism and to extend its authority to all Libyan territory.”

On the other hand, Retired General Khalifa Haftar – the leader of the Libyan army loyal to the House of Representatives (HoR) – described the Libyan army as a red line, and that they will not be lured into any political agreement, so they do not want to even be included in any concord.

Haftar said, on Tuesday, that the army cannot be a part of any political dialogue, during a meeting, which took place in the Office of General Leadership of the Libyan Army in the eastern city of Al-Marj, his army officers and the commanders of the front lines attended the meeting.

Currently, there is still conflict between people who do want the dialogue such as Leon, and factions taking part, and the people who do not want the dialogue such as Haftar and others.