Home Interviews Selected Questions from Leon’s press conference

Selected Questions from Leon’s press conference


As on UNSMIL website, the selected question to Leon and his answers to them, are as followos:

Question: Is this the final (inaudible), is the government annex included, includes names?

Leon: The content of the political agreement is final. We will not have any further negotiations, the parties are now expected to approve it or not to approve i. Of course, this is their decision, and not come back with more remarks or more elements to be negotiated. But Annex No. 1 of this text is the five names of the Presidential Council of the government and this still has to be decided when the parties will be back immediately after Eid, so this annex No. 1 still has to be completed and this is the moment in which there will be a comprehensive package.

This is not an element of discussing formulas or articles or legal elements in the agreement. It is just a matter of agreeing on list of five names and adding it as Annex No. 1 to the final package in terms of endorsement because the endorsement will only come when all these elements will be completed.

Question: We understand now it is a take it or leave offer, can we say it is sending a warning to both sides in Libya?

Leon: It is not a warning. We have to put it in a positive way. The Libyans have been the ones who have created this opportunity and it is an opportunity for the country. The question, the warning has to come from those who oppose this possibility solution that we have elaborated all together because they are the ones who have to say what is the alternative. I don’t see many alternative in Libya, frankly. I have heard a lot of critics about this work and about this agreement and we know very well that there are many people who do not like what we are doing and who find here and there elements that they would prefer to be different. But what is the alternative? And this is the real warning. This is what all Libyans should now discuss, and we hope that there will be a wide debate. We hope that there will be a serious and mature debate on what are the alternatives.

We cannot continue to negotiate forever, as we know after the 20th of October the little elements we have, certain legitimacy, legality, and based on the institutions, and here I want to talk about institutions in a wide sense. In this process we have had different institutions, considering different sources of the legitimacy to be here negotiating they have accepted each other and decided to work together to reach this conclusion. I don’t see any alternatives. When people talk about some ideas as solutions in Libya, and we have heard in recent weeks some of them, I am very worried because these ideas will not get any recognition, will not get any support from the international community, will just multiply the chaos that Libya is facing. So in my opinion, I am not saying this because the United Nations has been facilitating these Libyan negotiations; I am saying this because, frankly, after one year following Libya very closely I cannot see any alternative.

Question: Why didn’t you send the last document to the parties (inaudible)

Leon: As you know, in recent days, a week ago we reached what was practically I defined it as a point of consensus. There was a general consensus among the parties but still there were some final details to be fined tuned. Here we say in negotiations that the devil is in the details, there are many details, and we have spent almost as much energy and efforts in dealing with these final details in the last few days as we have spent in month of negotiations on some big elements and ideas. So the devil, indeed, was in the details. We have to clarify to work on these details, and I believe that what we have now, it is our understanding as United Nations, this is something that should be acceptable, that respects the red lines that all the parties set at the beginning of these talks. I think the second point you made is very important. I am convinced that names will help, will ease very much the approval of the parties because, obviously, there is a concern is this agreement going to bring a government that would be acceptable for all the Libyans? This is, of course, a normal question to make, and I think that they are ready to do that. They understand that this is the only possibility. If the government is not a good government or it is not going to be perceived by all the Libyans as fair government it is not going to work, so I really hope that they will come here after Eid, that they will have a good government, a good list of names, and I am sure that it will definitely facilitate the approval of the final agreement.

Question: What is the difference between the last version and this one, and what made you more hopeful that the parties will accept it?

Leon: The difference as I said is a number of details that requires further clarification. Some guarantees that had to be enforced, some definitions that the text requires. So, we have been working in the last days on these ones. I don’t think these details are altering the essence of the text. The final editing will be done in the coming days by the team in English and Arabic versions, and we will share with the parties but I am sure the parties will see. We know very well what are the red lines, what are their views about the different institutional issues and political issues and we firmly believe that this has been respected and reflected in this text.

Question: What about the deadline for the vote?

Leon: We are always with deadlines debating in this process. The only real deadline we have is the 20th of October. This is, all the participants, all of them, from all the parties, have a very strong determination that we should not go beyond the 20th of October, that the chaos we have today, will just become further chaos and the vacuum might create a situation in which the people who cannot solve this crisis will try to do something which will make the crisis even worse. So, we need a political agreement where all Libyans can meet and all Libyans can support before the 20th of October, actually to start to enter into force on the 20 of October.

Now before that we wanted to finish our work today, because this is 30 days before this 20 October deadline. But of course the parties have certain flexibility because they can reduce the timing of the different elements they have to do before the entering into force of the agreement, so we can be flexible on this. Now, as I said before we would like to use the United Nations General Assembly week to have the opportunity to express a strong support from the international community. This is not a strong deadline. It is something that will provide the Libyans, provide this agreement with a huge support from the international community. It is an excellent opportunity for the Libyans and for the international community. So it could be really a pity that the Libyans don’t use this. It is not a deadline related to the agreement, but it is a deadline related to the international agenda, and it is extremely important. So, also a very strong call from the United Nations to the Libyan parties to endorse the text before the first of October so that they can be in New York expressing their support and their agreement. Obviously, if on the first of October we have this last session of this dialogue the initialing could be anytime between the 1st of October and the 20th of October.