THE MINISTER – What stage are we at today?
Gaddafi has lost all legitimacy. Moreover, his support is continuing to crumble away, with new defections taking place every day.
On the ground, however, his forces and the revolutionary forces are still clashing, with neither side prevailing over the other.
In this still very uncertain context, it’s more necessary than ever to seek a political solution, and that’s what we’re working on today.
It was in this spirit that, together with the United Kingdom, France organized the London Conference on 29 March. That conference was a success, with more than 30 countries taking part – including numerous Arab countries – as well as several large international and regional organizations, like the UN, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It enabled a Contact Group to be created, charged in particular with ensuring political governance over the military intervention, and more broadly the implementation of UNSCR 1970 and UNSCR 1973. Today, in fact, the whole Arab world is hoping for the departure of Gaddafi, who is showing every day how much he despises his people by clinging onto power.
These considerations must enable us to strengthen the National Transitional Council, which is fighting for democracy and freedom. We must strengthen it because its legitimacy isn’t disputed by anyone in the areas under the revolutionaries’ control. Its president, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the former justice minister, is a highly respected figure in Libya. We must strengthen it because it began to organize itself as soon as it was created. Proof of this, in my view, is the fact that Benghazi didn’t plunge into chaos when Gaddafi’s supporters were chased out of the city. We must strengthen it because it drew up a charter that very clearly states the necessity of respecting human rights and public freedoms. All our contacts with the members of the National Transitional Council – I myself have met its representatives several times – confirm this commitment. I’m currently battling to get them heard on Monday by the Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels; we’ve still got a bit of resistance from certain countries; but we must talk to these leaders, even if they haven’t got a monopoly over the representation of the Libyan people.
So we recognized this Council as a legitimate interlocutor and sent a diplomatic representation mission to Benghazi; we have a diplomat there, Antoine Sivan, who’s doing a good job. Italy has also recognized the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Our American, British and German counterparts have met its representatives and drawn positive conclusions from it.
That’s also why we wanted the Prime Minister of the National Transitional Council to come to Luxembourg next week to present his ideas to the 27 European Union foreign ministers.
I want to repeat very clearly that a lasting settlement will necessarily involve a political process. This could be based on inclusive national dialogue around the National Transitional Council, bringing together all those representatives of Libyan civil society who adhere to the broad principles set out in UNSCR 1973, particularly “to find a solution […]
which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people”. We’re ready to support the Libyans in this effort. The United Nations, the African Union and others have their full role to play to this end. I hope in particular we can involve the African Union, which is very directly concerned by what’s happening. In the past few days, I’ve been in touch many times with a number of heads of State to persuade them – or at least the African Union – to be present in Qatar next week, because it’s there that the Contact Group should be meeting on 13 April.
That’s what I wanted to say. I very much wanted to stress that the bulk of our efforts in Libya at the moment are about initiating a process of discussion and political agreement. It’s a little disorderly, it must be said. We’re going to try and introduce a little coherence into it all.
There’s a United Nations Special Representative in Libya, Mr Al-Khatib, who has a coordination role to play, and we hope above all that the Contact Group – which is to meet in Doha on 13 April –can restore coherence and launch a real process of discussion and political settlement of the conflict. In any case, the Libyan people and they alone must write their history and decide their future. To enable them to take control of their destiny, we must exert all our influence to make Gaddafi go./.