New York, US - Mr. Tarek Mitri, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), on Monday said international and well-coordinated support is vital to helping Libya through its democratic transition.
Mr. Mitri, who briefed a session of the Council on Libya, said that the country was witnessing polarization, a dramatic increase in violence, including attacks on the media, as well as difficulties in strengthening the security sector.
He stated: 'Libya faces the risk of embarking on a new trajectory of unprecedented violence,' noting that 'recent months have witnessed worsening security and political divisions which threaten to undermine the country’s transition.'
He recalled that, on 2 March, the General National Congress building was stormed by protestors demanding its dissolution and about 150 young men ransacked the main chamber and assaulted members, four of whom were injured.
'Intense efforts to resolve differences and negotiate an agreement on the management of the transitional period, including the future of the General National Congress and the Government, have not succeeded in bringing an end to the divisions that have paralysed the political process,' the UN envoy noted.
He said considerable differences remained over holding both parliamentary and presidential elections, and the extent of power to be granted to a future president.
He added that the previous three months had witnessed a 'dramatic' increase in violence across the country.
He said: 'This includes violence in Sabha in the south that resulted in over 100 fatalities, including children and the elderly, as well as the displacement of hundreds of families and shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies.'
'In the east, the unabated campaign of targeted assassinations, bombings and abductions in Benghazi has reached intolerable levels. Many victims have been security and judicial personnel. But civilians have also suffered unchecked terror and intimidation.
'In a city which prides itself on its role in putting an end to decades of tyrannical rule, the present public’s sense of anger is mounting.'
Mr. Mitri also said while the primary responsibility for reining in the perpetrators of this ugly campaign of terror was with the State, this would only be possible with the concerted efforts by the Government, political, civic and revolutionary forces, aiming at the protection of the civilian population.
In addition, he reported that there had been an 'alarming' increase in attacks on journalists and media institutions, stating that, several television stations in Tripoli and Benghazi were the target of armed acts of vandalism, while a number of journalists and media figures were abducted.
He added that strengthening the State’s ability to assume its security responsibilities continued to be hindered by the absence of a political agreement over the rebuilding of a national army, the integration of revolutionary fighters and the collection of weapons.
The envoy said: 'A solution to this problem will require a clear strategy and giving a number of assurances to the revolutionaries who are only nominally under state authority. These include recognition of their contributions to the revolution and safeguards for their legitimate rights and interests.'
He stressed that the people of Libya expected the international community to assist them in the difficult task of building a State, with strong and accountable institutions.
'Support to Libya, however, can be meaningful and effective if there is unequivocal commitment on the part of Libya’s leaders to this goal and a political will to resolve, through dialogue and concerted efforts, the major problems of the country,' Mr. Mitri said.
Also, the current chair of the committee set up to monitor UN sanctions imposed on Libya, Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana of Rwanda noted that the proliferation of weapons to and from Libya remained a major challenge for the stability of country and the region.
The committee mandate also an arms embargo, a travel ban and an assets freeze.
He said that the panel also noted that the control of non-State armed actors over the majority of stockpiles in Libya, as well as ineffective border control systems remained primary obstacles to countering proliferation and that Libya had become a primary source of illicit weapons.
'Also, trafficking from Libya was fuelling conflict and insecurity, including terrorism, on several continents, which was unlikely to change in the near future,' Mr. Gasana added.