Libya needs national, international efforts to recover from conflict: PM

March 8, 2012 11:39 am 

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 — Libya's Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib told the UN Security Council here on Wednesday that Libya must deal with many challenges in rebuilding after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime, and requires the sustained assistance of the international community.

"There must be concerted efforts nationally, as well as support from the international community to face it so that with the end of that phase, we will reach safety with the issuance of the permanent constitution, the election of the parliament and the government, which will lead the country in the course of the forthcoming stage towards the achievement of our peoples' ambitions for progress and prosperity," said El-Keib.

The Libyan prime minister made the statement as he was speaking at an open Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya.

He said that the Gaddafi regime, which was overthrown by Libyan rebels with the assistance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in 2011, left behind weaknesses in institutions and infrastructure that were exacerbated by months of conflict.

The current interim government, the Transitional National Council (TNC), has worked hard to ensure that post- conflict Libya is as secure as possible, and that any weapons left behind such as man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) and nuclear material are accounted for and under control, he said.

"We accord special attention to disarmament, the non- proliferation of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) and MANPADS for their threat to international and national security," he said.

He reassured the council that the TNC, with the help of the international community, has worked to keep account of chemical weapons in the country hidden by the Gaddafi regime. He added that the Libyan transitional government has called for a meeting later in March for regional officials in Tripoli in order to discuss security challenges.

"The conference is designed to coordinate efforts to control and monitor the borders and to face the illegal immigrations, to prevent smuggling weapons, combating drugs and to grapple with the activities of the pro-Gaddafi elements that still operate freely in some neighboring states, and which still constitute a grave threat to the security of Libya and its neighbors," said El-Keib.

The prime minister called on the Security Council to lift an embargo on military equipment.

"In support of all efforts in achieving security and stability internally and protecting our long borders, with all due respect, we call upon this council to lift the embargo on military equipment and weaponry so that we can reequip the military forces and the police to undertake their duties," he said.

Aside from security, another major challenge is transitional justice and reconciliation, according to El-Keib.

"There is no doubt that national reconciliation is a prerequisite for the establishment of social harmony and stability, " he said.

El-Keib explained that the TNC has put together national reconciliation committees and set up laws for reconciliation and transitional justice. He asked that the international community help with this.

"In the name of the Libyan people and through your prestigious council we call upon the international community to seriously cooperate with us in achieving justice by surrendering the pro- Gaddafi elements and members of his elements that committed crimes against the Libyan people as well as rendering the money they have, " he said. "We hope to cooperate with the different parties. Many fugitives still move at large and constitute grave menace to the security of Libya and the region."

He also emphasized the importance of elections in order to form a government in Libya that is more permanent than the TNC.

"The complete legitimacy of the executive and legislative authorities of Libya can only be achieved through elections there strenuous efforts are being deployed in order to elaborate a legal framework that will secure the transition from the revolution to the state," he said.

He added that the TNC is committed to holding elections in a manner that is transparent, safe and timely.

The prime minister stressed the TNC's commitment to continue working with the UN system and the Security Council, particularly the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

"The signature by Libya on the agreement of the mission indicates our appreciation and we hope that this cooperation will continue," he said.

UNSMIL was established in September 2011 in order to help restore rule of law and security in the North African country, while promoting human rights and reconciliation as well as assisting the TNC with regards to elections and the drafting of a new Libyan constitution.

"We look forward to continued fruitful work with the United Nations in the course of the coming year," El-Keib said. (PNA/Xinhua)

FPV/ebp

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