UN Special Envoy to Visit Libya Early Next Week

United Nations (Xinhua): UN special envoy to Libya Abdelilah Al-Khatib will visit Tripoli early next week, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said here on Friday.

The special envoy will depart from New York over the weekend, joined by a team that includes senior humanitarian officials, as well as staff from the Department of Political Affairs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ban told reporters after his meeting with the newly-appointed envoy at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“They are expected to arrive in Tripoli very soon — early next week,” Ban said.

He said their objective will be to assess the situation on the ground and undertake broad consultations with Libyan authorities on the immediate humanitarian, political and security situation.

Calling humanitarian situation “the most immediate challenge” in Libya, Ban said civilians have borne the brunt of the violence.

“My message has been strong and consistent. The violence must stop. Humanitarian aid must get to those in need. Those responsible for violence against civilians will be held accountable. A peaceful resolution must be found,” he said.

Ban added that he himself will be in the region later next week to visit Egypt and Tunisia.

Al-Khatib, who is on his first visit to the UN after his appointment on March 6, said he accepted the secretary-general’s offer with the hope that he “will contribute positively to the UN efforts to help Libya and its people overcome the current crisis.”

He said he hoped his mission would “succeed in stopping the killings and ending the suffering of the civilian population, in addressing their humanitarian needs and preserving the unity of the Libyan people and the territorial integrity of their homeland. ”

“I will commence as soon as possible my contacts and consultations with the Arab and African groups and with member states, in order to coordinate the international effort,” the former Jordanian foreign minister told reporters.

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