Statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Naseem, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the High Level Meeting on Libya (20 September 2011)

Thank you Mr. President,

Honorable delegates, on behalf of the people and the government of the Republic of the Maldives, I would like to extend  a warm welcome to the delegation from the Libyan National Transitional Council which has rightfully taken its place with us in the United Nations

The Maldives, within its means, has tried to play a useful role in increasing international pressure on the old government in the face of widespread human rights abuse, in ensuring accountability, and in encouraging the international community to recognise the new Libya with the NTC at its head.

In that regard, The Maldives was one of the first countries to call on Muammar Ghadaffi and his associates to step down recognising the rights of the self-determination of the Libyan people, we were among the first five countries to recognise the NTC as the only legitimate body representing the Libyan people, and we worked closely with Qatar, Jordan and the UK to lead on efforts to eject Muammar Ghadaffi's government from the Human Rights Council and to establish an international commission of enquiry.

Throughout, we have remained in close contact with the NTC.

Recognized last week, as the official government of Libya by the United Nations General Assembly, the NTC has an immense task ahead of them. While the overthrow of the former regime was an achievement for the Libyan people, it is important not to be complacent. When Maldives held our first free and fair elections in 2008, we learned that it can be difficult to move to an open and strong democratic society. The Maldives encourages our Libyan brothers to work towards a stable Muslim democracy built on the principles of human rights and fundamental freedom.

We encourage the NTC to be an agent of real change, breaking away from the tyranny of the past. To achieve this, human rights violations on all sides have to be accounted for, and the victims of such violations must receive justice. In a spirit of openness, the NTC should facilitate the establishment of a functioning democratic nation; with a new constitution, independent institutions of horizontal accountability, and an active civil society.

The Maldives is extremely impressed with the speed with which the NTC has come to grips with the difficult post-conflict situation in Libya, and with the openness with which they are approaching the international community. The Maldives is committed to do all we can to support the democratic transition in Libya, to make sure it succeed and call on the international community to do the same.

Thank you