Statement by H E President Zuma at the high level meeting on Libya hosted by the UN Secretary General, United Nations Headquarters, New York

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Earlier this year the United Nations responded to the call for assistance from the Libyan people in their critical time of need.

South Africa supported that call with the belief that the United Nations had an obligation to bring about by peaceful means, and in accordance with the principles of justice and international law, breaches of peace and stability and the protection of civilians.

As the situation in Libya enters a new phase, South Africa welcomes this convening of this high-level meeting to continue to assist the people of Libya in their quest for lasting peace, stability and development.

Libya is slowly emerging from a bloody conflict that saw many killed in their determination to seek a better life and to realize their legitimate aspirations.

The situation in Libya has improved, but there is still a long way for the Libyans to go in achieving lasting peace, security and stability.

There remains concern at the possibility of the current situation further undermining regional peace and security, including through terrorism and the proliferation of weapons.

South Africa supports the international post-conflict reconstruction, reconciliation and rebuilding efforts to assist the Libyan people in turning a new leaf from this conflict.

UN assistance in this endeavor is critical especially as it will also serve as the foundation for coordinating all efforts to support Libya’s post-conflict reconstruction.

Libyan national ownership and inclusiveness of the reconstruction process is critical.

Secretary-General,

The African Union, has from the very beginning of the Libyan crises, been engaged to find a peaceful sustainable solution to the conflict in Libya.

Through its High – Level ad hoc Committee on Libya, it had developed a roadmap which aimed to assist the Libyan people reach a peaceful conclusion to their crises.

During this new phase of Libya’s transition, the African Union and South Africa remains committed to continue to assist the Libyan people in their quest for peace and the reconstruction of their country.

The African Union (AU) High – Level ad hoc Committee on Libya met at the level of Heads of State and Government in Pretoria, South Africa, on 14 September 2011, and recognized the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the representatives of the Libyan people and resolved to work with NTC and all other Libyan stakeholders towards the goal of the early establishment of an all-inclusive national unity government.

The ad hoc Committee furthermore pledged the AU’s readiness to extend full support to the overall efforts to stabilize the situation, promote democracy and reconstruction in Libya.

This morning the AU, in providing leadership to the continent, recognized the NTC as the authority that we must work with to assist the Libyan people to move forward, which must form an interim government that can be able to take the Libyan seat in the AU.

Secretary-General,

The immediate challenge in Libya is for a peaceful conclusion to the conflict, which must include a cessation of hostilities and an end to the NATO military campaign as a prerequisite for stability. This stability would enable the Libyan people to focus their efforts to reconcile and to reconstruct their country.

The initial threat, which warranted a no-fly zone no longer exists.

We should therefore work towards the lifting of the no-fly zone as soon as possible in order to retain the integrity of the United Nations as the center that harmonizes the actions of nations in the pursuit of universal peace.

Towards this end, the UN has an essential role in assisting the Libyan people with political reforms that address the underlying causes of the conflict.

Other key areas to be developed and addressed include, amongst others, constitution building, transitional justice, rule of law, public safety and economic recovery.

The new Libyan authorities should ensure the protection of migrant workers, especially those from sub-Saharan African countries. The approximately 2.5 million-strong African migrant community, it must be recalled, contributed for decades to the economic development of Libya.

Immediate measures should be taken to put an end to reprisals, killings, arbitrary arrests and detention of migrant workers and black Libyans and further call for those involved in these activities to be held accountable for their actions.

In conclusion, Secretary-General, we reiterate that a UN presence supporting the post-conflict and recovery phase in Libya is a strong affirmation by the international community of an improved situation on the ground.

The UN, working with relevant regional organizations and member states, should partner with the new Libyan Authorities and all other Libyan stakeholders towards the goal of an end to their conflict, the early establishment of an all-inclusive national unity government and the post-conflict development of their country.



I thank you.