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Time and 'ideas' running short in Libya, says U.N.

January 6th, 2015
05:33 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

The situation in Libya, a country nearly lawless since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, is increasingly dire, the U.N. Special Representative to the country told CNN's Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Tuesday.

Bernardino León warned that “we are running out of time, we are running out of ideas and if in the coming weeks it is not possible to revive this political dialogue, the international community should think of other formulas and speak in a different language in Libya.”

“If we give up [on Libya],” Bernardino added, “and this is something that might happen in the coming weeks… then we will have different types of solutions but also a longer time and a missed opportunity for the political life in the country.”

Three years after Gadhafi's death, the intensifying power struggle between rival factions has plunged the country into turmoil.

“There is ongoing violence in several points of the country, but the recent fighting in Ras Lanuf is threatening with a conflict that might be generalized all over Libya. So there is political chaos, military, security chaos, and of course economic chaos.”

“What we have been trying to do is to work with the moderates, and there are indeed moderates in both camps willing to solve this politically.”

The ongoing battle for power and territory has led to frequent fighting for oil and gas facilities.

Attempts to arrange U.N.-brokered talks between different factions have so far failed, but León believes both experts and militias are aware the conflict cannot be solved militarily.

“I think all of them, the moderates and the radicals, know that there is no military solution in Libya. This is quite obvious for most analysts inside and outside Libya.”

What does the international community, which intervened in Libya in 2011 under NATO’s umbrella, need to do to help bring back stability to the country?

“The agenda is very clear. Number one, to agree a national unity government. Number two, to agree on stability measures, which should include a ceasefire, withdrawal of militias from all the public spaces and especially the strategic spaces. And number three, monitoring.”

“This is very important because here is where the international community should have a role together with the Libyans in monitoring this peace agreement… In this dialogue should be the Constitution, should be reviving the constitutional process, which might be a factor to unite Libyans.”

The U.N. Special Representative added that “this will be the only way to stop a massacre and further chaos in the country,” and is confident that the international community is aware that the current situation in Libya poses “a huge problem” for all.

“You have countries like Tunisia, striving for consolidating the political transition. You have countries like Egypt, fighting to get stability and of course the Libya situation is going to affect them and is going to affect others in the region.”

“It’s a security concern, especially when it comes to the terrorist threat. We know there is ISIS presence in cities like Derna, Benghazi and other areas in the country.”

León also pointed out the fact that “Libya is a major oil supplier” and reiterated that the country “is very high in our agenda.”

Click above to watch the full interview.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Libya
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