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Home » Libya » Joint Communique on Libya

April 2013

Tarek Mitri Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya UNSMIL)

Libya is making consistent progress, has a strong leadership that is fully aware of the challenges it is facing and it has the support of the world community, these are all ingredients of success says Mr. Tarek Mitri, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

In a candid and exclusive interview with The Tripoli Post at the UNSMIL headquarters in Tripoli, Mr. Mitri made it crystal clear that UNSMIL is in Libya primarily to work with the Libyan government and people to achieve their objectives. And that UNSMIL respect strictly and scrupulously Libya’s sovereignty.

Mr. Mitri said “what I have been telling the Security Council is that there is progress in Libya. It may be insufficient but it is real. There are major obstacles but they are not insurmountable”.

Libya is enjoying the support of the world community, says Mitri, “all members are interested in Libya. They want Libya to be peaceful and want to support it. People are not running away from Libya.”

“A year ago, prison facilities were under the control of the brigades. Now most of them are under the Ministry of Justice’s control. The crackdown on armed gangs in Tripoli is not negligible. Tripoli today, as far as general security, is concerned is better than it was three weeks ago,” he added.

“Since February political assassination in Benghazi and the crime rate have been in decline. These are little things but if you put them together, the police, the armed gangs in Tripoli, the decline in political assassination in Benghazi, the resistance or resilience of the Minister of Justice all indicate progress”.

When asked about what UNSMIL’s position on negative foreign media reports on Libya, Mr. Mitri strongly dismissed much of such reporting saying he always made a point at the security council that the situation in Libya is much better than it has been reported.

“There were moments when I had to say look: you are putting all the blame on Libya. All the arms are smuggled in and out of Libya and Libya is responsible for all the sins of the world. This is rubbish. Libya is not Afghanistan. This is wrong. Do you have a proof that those who abducted the workers in the Algerian gas plant of In-Amenas come from Libya or the arms are Libyan?,” Mitri said.

Answering a question about the leadership in Libya, Mr. Mitri toldThe Tripoli Post that the country has huge problems but it also has a strong leadership.

They are firm and they know what they are talking about and I think firmness and principled position give more strength which turns into more political strength if the people support the government.

“In view of what Libya has gone through during the last 42 years, in view of the magnitude of problems and the institutional deficit that exist in Libya one could not expect miracles but there is progress. It is real and sometimes it goes unnoticed and the credits should go to the Libyans who want the rule of law and to the political leadership,” he said.

With regard to armed groups in Libya, Mitri said “there would be no State if the monopoly and the use of arms is not under the State.”

Mitri praised UNSMIL’s relations with the Libya government saying they “are extremely good at the highest possible level. I think, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, that they have full trust in us and we often speak with each other as intimate friends”.

But he also say that there are problems when dealing with various issues in Libya and part of these problems that Libyans tend to overestimate both the role and the capacities of the United Nations and for a variety of political reasons, they blow the role of the UNSMIL out of proportion.

He said UNSMIL does not interfere in the drafting of the Libyan constitution. “It is none of our business. It is a sovereign act. It is for the Libyans to write their constitution. But I think that it is our obligation to tell them that the constitution is not just a document that is written by a group of people and if they disagree, they put it to vote”.


In this exclusive Mitri said “even if the freedom of media is costly, it is better to have a chaotic freedom of expression than to have none at all. That is why I always advise against any law or regulations that limit press freedom in Libya.”

The full interview will be published in The Tripoli Post Online on Sunday April 20, 2013.

Source: Tripoli Post 

Categories: News, Press

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