On surprise Libya visit, UN chief urges reconciliation

//On surprise Libya visit, UN chief urges reconciliation

On surprise Libya visit, UN chief urges reconciliation

By | 2014-10-11T18:23:19+00:00 October 11th, 2014|World|0 Comments

The head of the United Nations was on a visit to Tripoli on Saturday, amid ongoing unrest in the northern African nation.

“Let me be clear: If violent confrontations do not cease immediately, if sustainable peace is not restored, prosperity and a better life will be a distant dream,” Ban said, according to an official transcript of his remarks.

Early on Saturday, Ban’s spokesman published the unanticipated intentions of the secretary general via Twitter.

Libya has fractured into split-rule regions since the longstanding regime of Moammar Gadhafi was toppled in 2011. Fighting between militias in Tripoli, and an Islamist threat in the eastern city of Benghazi, have limited the powers of the internationally recognized parliament, and contributed to the destabilization the oil-rich nation.

Saturday’s talks were to include the deputy president of Libya’s House of Representatives, as well as other members of the house and lawmakers who have boycotted parliamentary sessions.

Ban’s office said he was to urge Libyan parties “to press forward with their nascent dialogue in order to restore stability to their crisis-ridden country.”

Peace negotiations open

The UN mission chief in Libya, Bernardino Leon, managed to bring the rival factions together for talks in the remote oasis town of Ghadames in late September. Despite his hailing of the discussions as “very constructive and very positive,” the situation remains contentious.

Libya’s parliament – elected in June – is recognized by the international community but is contested by militias controlling Tripoli and by Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The majority faction in parliament, which has openly admitted losing control of Tripoli, has in recent weeks been meeting in the far eastern town of Tobruk near the border with Egypt.

Ever since conflict broke out in 2011, a host of international governments have advised citizens to avoid Tripoli

Residents displaced

According to UN estimates, clashes between rival militias had driven an estimated 287,000 people from their homes, including about 100,000 who have fled the outskirts of the capital.

The UN refugee agency said Friday that another 15,000 people had been
displaced around Benghazi, amid intense fighting over the airport.

“The need for healthcare, food, and other basic commodities – plus for shelter ahead of winter – has become critical,” said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards.

glb/ipj (AFP, Reuters, AP)