For civilians in need, access to humanitarian assistance should go unimpeded, and relief personnel protected.
Of particular concern is the present situation in Derna where we have repeatedly called for civilians to have freedom of movement and actively worked for the entry of basic necessities to the city.
The other challenge, which Libyans are concerned about, is of course, their security. There is much fear of criminality, of kidnapping and the threats posed by the widespread proliferation of arms. My first night here in Tripoli, I fell asleep to the protracted staccato of gunfire.
Civilians are killed or injured across Libya as a result of sporadic armed clashes and explosive remnants of war. Thousands are also detained for prolonged periods of time, many with no prospects of a fair trial.
The terrible attack at the al-Fuqaha checkpoint on Thursday 24 August, which saw the brutal killing of nine soldiers and two civilians was attributed to ISIL.
The Libyans I have spoken to want an end to uncertainty and instability, and they respect those who are working to bring the situation under control. In Tripoli and in certain other parts of the country, the security situation has truly improved. Oil production has increased markedly, enabling the Presidency Council and Central Bank of Libya to work together to deliver on the budget.
These are positive steps. But the key to lasting stability requires addressing the over-arching political situation. In this regard, the main issues which dominate the political landscape are as follows:
Firstly, the upcoming two year anniversary of the Libyan Political Agreement on 17 December. There is uncertainty over what the end of the transitional period outlined in the LPA actually means. One of the most immediate tasks is to help build a consensus among Libyans on the legal and political significance of that date.
An institutional vacuum at this crucial time will not serve Libya’s interests.
Most of my interlocutors have raised with me their thoughts on amending the LPA. A consensus is emerging on this issue, and I hope to be able to announce some movement on it in the coming days.
Secondly, the prospect of adopting a constitution. The vote by the Constitution Drafting Assembly on 29 July to finalise the draft text was an important milestone. However, at the moment, the legality of the vote is being considered by the courts.
Thirdly, there are growing and widespread calls for fresh elections. Before these take place, it would be wise to ensure political and technical preconditions for successful elections to be addressed, and in particular a commitment by all parties to accept the election results. Elections are not about the accumulation, but about peaceful and organised rotation.
Finally, a political package is required to bring these three elements together coherently. Here, sequencing is the name of the game. Libyans can successfully go into these three processes only if they define in what order and with what urgency they should do so, and if we help them combine the three into one single package which most, if not all, players consider acceptable.
In any case, any efforts to forge a solution must be Libyan-led and Libyan-owned. The United Nations is here to support them in their endeavours, and certainly not to replace them.
We will in particular work with them to promote the rapid re-unification of their political and financial institutions. .
Libya’s problems are not just confined to the Libyan people. The presence of ISIL, of Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups, foreign fighters and mercenaries, the trafficking of arms and the cross-border black market economy are challenges which extend across Libya’s borders and impact its neighbours and the wider international community. Three days ago, deadly clashes near the border with Chad reminded all of the regional sensitivity of Libya’s present conditions.
Irregular migration, and the revenue it generates for smuggler networks, has also proven to be a direct threat to stability in parts of Libya. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees who are stuck in Libya often suffer abuses and detention in inhuman conditions.
We need to act, we need to act together and we need to act now.
We are not starting from zero. Thanks to my predecessors and the concerted efforts of member states, we have the political framework of the LPA. There is fairly widespread recognition in Libya that the current situation cannot drag on indefinitely. The commitments to a ceasefire and to a political rather than military solution to the crisis made in the Paris communique need to be supported by concrete actions, to avoid a renewed military escalation.