18 June 2013 Managing Libya’s democratic transition is bound to be difficult given the legacy of decades of brutal rule, a senior United Nations envoy told the Security Council today, adding that the country could benefit from a national political dialogue on the way forward.
“The political and security challenges that now face the country may well be the legacy of decades of authoritarian rule, dysfunctional state institutions and confusion around political norms,” Tarek Mitri, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, said in his briefing to the Council.
“This reality invites a national political dialogue that seeks consensus on the priorities for the transitional period,” he said, adding that the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has provided Government officials with advice on issues and modalities of such a dialogue.
UNSMIL, headed by Mr. Mitri, has been supporting the efforts of the Libyan Government and people to ensure the success of the democratic transition process, which has been under way since the toppling of Muammar al-Qadhafi two years ago.
The former leader ruled the North African country for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising in 2011 – similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa – led to civil war and the end of his regime.
“The risks in Libya should not be underestimated, and by the same token, the opportunities should not be overlooked,” said Mr. Mitri. “Judging by the speed with which last year’s elections to the General National Congress took place so soon after the cessation of hostilities, we would be forgiven if we thought that the road to democracy was as simple as it appeared.
“As important as these elections may have been in ushering in the beginnings of a new political process and the building of legitimate State institutions, the Libyan people will continue to endure for the foreseeable future the heavy legacy bequeathed to them over decades of brutal rule,” he added. “Managing the transition is bound, therefore, to be difficult.”
On the security and political challenges, Mr. Mitri cited the treatment of detainees, border security, the continuing weak state of security sector institutions, and effectively tackling threats emanating from the south of the country.
He also noted the recent violence in Benghazi, which led to “considerable” loss of life, as well as concerns over the recently adopted law on political isolation, which demands the exclusion of figures associated with the former regime and others who had committed human rights violations from public office.
“We believe many of the criteria for exclusion are arbitrary, far-reaching, at times vague, and are likely to violate the civil and political rights of large numbers of individuals,” said the Special Representative.
Speaking to reporters after the Council session, the envoy stressed that Libya needs much more political support from international partners since some of its problems, such as border security, are not ones the country can face alone.
Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45206&Cr=libya&Cr1=
18 June 2013 The United Nations envoy for Mali welcomed the signing today of an agreement between the Malian Government and Tuareg rebels that paves the way for inclusive peace talks as well as presidential elections next month.
“This is a crucial first step, it is now important that the signatories are looking to the future and continue their efforts, hand in hand, for a practical implementation of this agreement to begin immediately in a coordinated and peaceful manner,” said Bert Koenders, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Mali.
Signed by the Malian Government, the National Movement for Liberations of Azawad (MNLA) and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad, the agreement was reached after nearly two weeks of mediated talks in neighbouring Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou.
The deal comes after Northern Mali was occupied by radical Islamists when fighting broke out in January 2012 between Government forces and Tuareg rebels. The conflict displaced hundreds of thousands of people and prompted the Malian Government to request assistance from France to halt the southward march of the extremist groups.
The presidential elections next month are considered a key step in the transition process, and the UN and the European Commission have signed a financing agreement for 14.8 million in support of the electoral process.
Mr. Koenders, who also heads the recently established UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said he was encouraged by the commitment of the parties to national reconciliation and conflict resolution through dialogue based on human rights.
“I therefore call on all Malians: from north to south, from east to west and elsewhere, to work together to achieve peace,” he said, noting that they have the full support of the international community.
While MINUSMA has been supporting the peace process since it was established in April, Mr. Koenders noted that as of 1 July and with the Security Council’s authorization next week, a large peacekeeping force will be deployed in the country.
“MINUSMA is already in Mali and will remain there to support the peace process,” he said. “I will chair an international commission to oversee the effective implementation of today’s agreements, the success of which will depend on the political will of all Malian actors.”
June 17, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The United States on Monday issued a condemnation of the shelling that took place last week in a Sudanese border state and hit a United Nations peacekeeping base.
FILE – Sudanese men inspect damages following an attack in Kadugli, the capital of Sudan’s South Kordofan state, on April 12, 2013 (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
The Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) said that it only targeted government military installations in South Kordofan capital town of Kadugli.
However, the rebel group said nothing about the shells that hit the UN base leading to the death of one Ethiopian peacekeeper.
“The United States strongly condemns the shelling of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) interim headquarters today in Kadugli, Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state reportedly by elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which killed one United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) peacekeeper from Ethiopia and wounded two others” said the statement released today by the US State department.
“We call on all parties to stop conducting military activities in areas occupied by non-combatants, such as Kadugli, and we stress that attacks on UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes” it further said.
The U.S. said that the incident highlights the need for Sudan and the SPLM-N to resume negotiations.
“This tragic event underscores the need to immediately restart the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)-facilitated direct talks between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N to allow for immediate and unhindered humanitarian access and the cessation of hostilities in the Two Areas” the US State department said.
“These talks are an important first step toward resolving the conflict between the SPLM-N and the Government of Sudan, and are intricately linked to the resolution of a number of remaining issues”.
After nearly two years of stonewalling, the Sudanese government agreed last April to sit down with the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa for direct talks on the conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states which border South Sudan.
But the talks adjourned without any breakthrough and it is not clear when they may resume.
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir announced late last month that he is ending dialogue with rebel groups in the wake of their assault on several towns in north and south Kordofan.
The insurgency remained a sticking point in relations between Khartoum and Juba with the former accusing the latter of backing the rebellion.
This month, Bashir ordered his government to close pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan to Port Sudan for exporting to international markets.
Sudanese officials later said the decision could be reversed if Juba gave up its support to the anti-Khartoum rebels.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46994