Political solution needed for Libya: UN Envoy
The conflict between government and opposition forces in Libya is entering its fifth month with no end in sight.
Meanwhile, the top United Nations envoy for Libya, Abdel Al-Khatib is continuing his diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.
Mr. Al-Khatib has just returned from the Libyan capital Tripoli where he held talks with both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
He emphasised the need for a political solution to the crisis to both men.
Derrick Mbatha has compiled this report.
Al-Khatib: Fighting to the bitter end will only lead to more unnecessary suffering. I stressed this point in my latest talks on Saturday in Tripoli and will continue to do so with government and opposition.
narration: That's the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Libya, Abdel Al-Khatib after briefing the Security Council on his latest mission to Libya.
Mr. Al-Khatib says that although the process of negotiations has started, there's some distance to go before a solution is found.
Al-Khatib: I am urging the parties to increase their focus on working towards a political solution. We would like to see indirect negotiations evolve into direct ones. Enough Libyans have lost their lives. It should be clear that any lasting end to the conflict would require a political solution. And this solution must fulfil the Libyan people's legitimate aspirations for a peaceful and democratic future.
narration: The top United Nations envoy for Libya stresses the need for a ceasefire.
He points out that it is for all the Libyan people to determine a political solution to the conflict in their country.
Al-Khatib: One of the key questions to be negotiated, I believe, is to reach an agreement on an institutional mechanism tasked with managing a transitional period. This would have to be all-inclusive and involve representatives from all political and social groups as well as a wide range of factions, regions and tribes. I discussed ideas along these lines during my visit to Tripoli.
narration: The Security Council imposed sanctions on the North African country, in response to the Libyan authorities' violent reaction to popular uprisings in February.
The aim of the measures was to prevent the authorities from continuing to suppress the population.
But as the civilian population continues to suffer as a result of the ongoing conflict Libyans are rethinking how these sanctions can be implemented.
Al-Khatib: As I told the Council, both parties have appealed to me in recent days to be able to use frozen Libyan assets for the purchase of food and medical supplies to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Libyan people. Ahead of the of holy month of Ramadan, I have asked that such requests be referred through appropriate channels. Addressing humanitarian needs is very critical.
narration: Mr. Al-Khatib says that the Libyan government has also complained that NATO's military operations and sanctions have gone beyond the mandate of the Security Council resolutions.
Al-Khatib: I have shared those statements with the Security Council. With respect to the issue of civilian casualties, we continue to call on all parties to take utmost care not to target or endanger civilians. Protecting civilians is the fundamental objective of the Security Council resolutions.
narration: According to Mr. Al-Khatib the Libyan parties have made it clear that the United Nations has an important role in finding a political solution to the crisis in Libya.
He says the upcoming meetings in Istanbul, Turkey later this week, will be an opportunity to continue to coordinate the international community's actions on Libya.
Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.