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Libya Contact Group: Chair's statement

Statement by Foreign Secretary William Hague following the Libya Contact Group meeting in Doha

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  1. Following the London Conference on 29 March 2011, the first meeting of the Contact Group on Libya was held in Doha on 13 April, and was co-chaired by the State of Qatar and the United Kingdom, with the participation of 21 countries and representatives from the United Nations, the Arab League, NATO, the European Union, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf States to discuss the situation in Libya. The African Union attended as an invitee. Participants recalled that the Contact Group on Libya would support and be a focal point of contact with the Libyan people, coordinate international policy and be a forum for discussion of humanitarian and post-conflict support. The meeting was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar, where he delivered a speech in which he expressed the State of Qatar’s welcome to participants at this important meeting, and its confidence that this meeting would achieve positive results contributing to the protection of Libyan civilians and relieving their suffering.

  2. Participants welcomed the progress made since the London Conference to support the Libyan people and ensure their protection. Participants remained united and firm in their resolve. Qadhafi and his regime had lost all legitimacy and he must leave power allowing the Libyan people to determine their own future.

International progress in implementing UNSCRs 1970 and 1973 (2011), and demand for a halt to attacks on civilians.

  1. Participants in the Contact Group set out their determination to ensure effective ongoing implementation of UNSCRs 1970 and 1973 (2011) and additional restrictive measures to deprive the regime of funds. These had exerted significant pressure on Qadhafi, protected civilians, including in Benghazi, from violent attack and averted a humanitarian disaster. They welcomed NATO’s command and control of military operations and underlined the need for robust implementation of UNSCR 1973 (2011). So long as the regime continued to attack areas of civilian population, all necessary action to implement UNSCR 1973 (2011) would continue. Participants also agreed on the need to monitor any potential threat from extremist elements who could seek to take advantage of the situation in Libya.

  2. To this end, participants in the Contact Group underlined OP 1 of UNSCR 1973 (2011) which “demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks and abuses of civilians”. They called for an immediate end to all attacks against civilians and for Qadhafi and his regime to pull back all regime forces from Libyan cities they have forcibly entered, occupied or besieged including Ajdabiyah, Brega, Jadu, al Jebal al Gharbiyah, Kikla, Misrata, Nalut, Raslanuf, Yefrin, Zawiyah, Zintan and Zuara. Qadhafi and his regime should comply with their obligations under international law, international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law including protecting civilians and meeting their basic needs. The Contact Group called for re-establishment of water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas, and the release of all those arbitrarily detained including political prisoners.

Call for a political process which allows Libyans to choose their own future

  1. They underlined OP 2 of UNSCR 1973 (2011) which “stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people”. Participants reiterated that a political solution would be the only way to bring lasting peace to Libya and reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya. They were united in believing that Qadhafi’s continued presence would threaten any resolution of the crisis. There should be an inclusive political process so that the Libyan people can determine their own future. They called on all Libyans who wanted to see a process of political transition to urge Qadhafi to step down. Participants noted that Qadhafi’s regime was weakening as his followers left him.

  2. Participants also welcomed and supported the efforts of the UNSG’s Special Envoy on Libya, noted in OP2 of UNSCR 1973 (2011), “with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution”. Participants encouraged the UNSG’s Special Envoy to take forward work to support the Libyan people in preparing for an inclusive and representative political process based on the legitimate demands of the Libyan people. Participants supported the efforts of the UN to help the Libyan people develop a political transition plan and such constitutional and electoral processes as may be required to establish a democratically elected government which represents their interests. The African Union updated participants on its efforts also noted in OP2 of UNSCR 1973 (2011) and its road map. Participants welcomed these efforts and the report of the ad hoc High Level Committee’s recent visit to Libya. They also welcomed the meeting to be convened by the United Nations in Cairo, in cooperation with the Arab League, on 14 April to exchange views and enhance co-ordination among the participating organisations with a view to solidifying the common commitment to secure peace in Libya.

Support for the Libyan people

  1. It is for the people of Libya to choose their own government. Participants welcomed the decision of the Interim National Council (INC) to meet with the Contact Group on Libya. In contrast with the current regime, the INC is a legitimate interlocutor, representing the aspirations of Libyan people. The aspirations which the INC has consistently described - dialogue, reconciliation, free and fair elections, civil society, human rights and constitutional and economic reforms - represent important elements of an inclusive and representative political process. Participants stood ready to support the realisation of these goals.

  2. Participants in the Contact Group agreed to continue to provide support to the opposition, including material support, consistent with UNSCRs 1970 and 1973 (2011) and the delivery of humanitarian aid to agencies able to deliver it effectively including the UN, humanitarian agencies and the opposition.

  3. Participants agreed that a Temporary Financial Mechanism could provide a method for the INC and international community to manage revenue to assist with short term financial requirements and structural needs in Libya. International partners therefore agreed to work urgently with INC authorities to explore establishing such a Mechanism.

Humanitarian assistance and longer term support for the Libyan people

  1. Participants urged all relevant parties to grant immediately safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian agencies to provide urgently needed assistance, including evacuation of the wounded.

  2. The UN Secretary General reported that the humanitarian situation in Libya remained serious and in due course approximately 3.6 million people could need humanitarian assistance. Participants in the Contact Group reiterated the need to address urgently humanitarian needs, and to maintain effective delivery. They welcomed the leading role of the UN in coordinating the humanitarian response, and committed to assist the UN in its leadership role and to ensure that they had the resources required to take this work forward. Participants welcomed the offers from NATO, the EU, the OIC and others to assist the delivery of humanitarian aid if requested by the UN.

  3. Participants reiterated the role of the UN in leading the international effort to plan for early recovery and peace building in Libya. They discussed how to provide co-ordinated support to the Libyan people and recognised the need to initiate a UN-led assessment of immediate post-conflict needs as soon as possible. This would be done through working closely with legitimate interlocutors representing the needs of the Libyan people, bilateral and regional partners and international organisations, including the Arab League and African Union. The assessment would help ensure a strategic, coordinated and coherent international approach.

  4. Participants of the Contact Group expressed their thanks and appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar for sponsoring and hosting this meeting. It was agreed to hold the second Contact Group meeting in Italy, and the date to be determined in the near future.

Published 13 April 2011