Distinguished Members of the Libya Contact Group,
Distinguished Representatives of the Libya National Transitional Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to welcome you all to Istanbul for the Fourth Meeting of the Libya Contact Group.
This meeting constitutes a new milestone in our collective efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya and helping the Libyan people build their future on free and democratic foundations.
Indeed, we have come a long way in protecting the civilians through full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. There has been progressive improvement of the situation on the ground. The National Transitional Council has gained wider international support and recognition. Yet, much remains to be done in terms of initiating a credible political transition process in compliance with the legitimate aspirations of the people. Therefore, what we need to do now is to consolidate our achievements so far and move into the phase of conflict-resolution.
In this connection, we should keep up the pressure on the Regime in Tripoli through the sustained enforcement of the UN Security Council Resolutions, while looking for innovative ways to support the Transitional National Council. Above all, the alleviation of the NTC’s urgent need for cash is of primary importance as we approach the Holy Month of Ramadan. In this respect, I would like to encourage all our partners in the Contact Group to consider opening credit lines to the NTC amounting to a certain percentage of the Libyan frozen assets in their country. As such, Turkey has already opened a credit line of two hundred million Dollars to the NTC, re-payment of which was guaranteed through the Libyan frozen assets in Turkey.
Initiation of a credible political process is key to finding a durable solution to the Libyan crisis. It is also crucial for the preservation of national unity and territorial integrity of Libya. As such, we all need to give our full support to the efforts of Mr. Khatib, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Libya. Having developed a Road Map for the establishment of a ceasefire and political change and transformation in Libya, Turkey closely cooperates and coordinates its efforts with Mr. Khatib. His recent contacts on the ground have yielded the core elements of a political transition. In his presentation, Mr. Khatib will elaborate on the details of his plan.
If the Contact Group expresses support to Mr. Khatib’s plan in the Chair’s Statement, it may have a positive impact on the forthcoming contacts that he will be holding with the parties in Libya.
The humanitarian situation on the ground continue to be a cause for grave concern. Thousands of people have been stranded or replaced. Many of them are in need of basic amenities. Continued unstable circumstances in the country make it more difficult to maintain the public services and supply lines smoothly. On the other hand, the ongoing sanctions on the Regime in Tripoli have also started to have adverse effects on the people living under Qaddafi’s control. With the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan, these grievances might worsen. Therefore, we all should augment our humanitarian assistance efforts in this month of communal solidarity in the Muslim World.
In this connection, we see merit in the suggestion of the NTC for the release of 3 Billion Dollars from the frozen assets of Libya under UN supervision and equal distribution of this amount during Ramadan season to Tripoli and Benghazi, on the condition that it will only be used for providing humanitarian assistance.
Last but not least, immediate stabilization and reconstruction needs, as well as planning for post-conflict recovery of Libya should also be tackled urgently. In this respect, we appreciate the work of the International Stabilisation Response Team, in which we have also participated. Needless to say, the Libyan people themselves, and the NTC as the legitimate representative of Libya, should own up and lead these efforts.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you all for accepting our invitation. I am sure that our deliberations today will be instrumental in advancing our common objectives towards a free, united and democratic Libya.