Libya's transition makes progress but challenges remain: UN envoy

November 10, 2012 12:23 am 

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 9 — A top UN official in Libya told the Security Council Thursday that the North African country has made progress in its political transition over the past year but still faces many challenges, including ensuring security and promoting national reconciliation, a UN spokesman told reporters here.

"The Security Council received an update on the situation in Libya from the secretary-general's special representative for that country, Tarek Mitri, who briefed Council members by videolink from Tripoli," said Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, at the daily briefing.

Mitri, who was appointed head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in September, said that Libya has moved forward in its political transformation, as has been clear from the July elections and the formation last week of a new government, according to Nesirky.

However, Mitri told the 15-member council that "many challenges remain, particularly in the area of security."

He discussed the recent fighting in Bani Walid, a small city that was one of the last to fall to rebels groups during last year 's conflict that led to the overthrow of former Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi.

The Libyan army forces seized control of the city last month, claiming that it harbored a number of supporters of al-Qaddafi. The Libyan authorities declared military operations in Bani Walid was over on Oct. 24.

Mitri also conveyed the UN's concerns about the protection of civilians to the Libyan president and prime minister and received assurances from them, said the spokesman.

"In addition, UNSMIL has provided teams to help assess humanitarian needs in Bani Walid and to help the authorities in clearing munitions there," Nesirky said.

On Oct. 31, the Libyan National Congress agreed on the formation of the government of 30 ministers proposed by Prime Minister Ali Zaidan, after a series of protests against some nominations of the cabinet line-up.

Zaidan, a former diplomat, was elected in mid October Libya's prime minister after a vote in the national congress and was tasked with naming the members of his cabinet in 15 days. (PNA/Xinhua)

HBC/LOR/RSM

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