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LIBYA: Ban Ki-moon stresses 'smooth transition,' urges aid

August 26, 2011 |  3:29 pm

Ban United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a "smooth transition" in Libya during a speech  Friday in New York.

"That transition must be grounded in inclusiveness, reconciliation and national unity  under a new government that can effectively deliver on the Libyan people's aspirations for democracy, freedom and growing social and economic prosperity," he said. "There is an urgent need to put an end to the conflict and restore order and stability."

Questions have emerged in recent days about whether the new rebel government, the Transitional National Council, is prepared to police the country.

"If the Libyan authorities request, we should be prepared to help develop police capacity, bearing in mind that the country is awash with small arms," Ban said.

He also stressed that Libya will face many more challenges in coming days.

"There are widespread shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies. Reports on the ground suggest that the water supply to the capital and surrounding region may be in danger, putting several million people, or more, at risk," he said.

Ban said Libyans have already requested assistance in several areas, including "humanitarian assistance, particularly as it relates to medical aid and basic public services, including water and sanitation and education. Somewhat longer-term, they have placed special emphasis on early support for elections, transitional justice and policing, as well as assistance in social-economic recovery, rule of law and institution-building."

Ban said he planned to meet with U.N. Security Council members soon to urge them to deploy a U.N. mission to Libya immediately.

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LIBYA: The taking of Aisha Kadafi's pool [video]

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he will seek U.N. action to send a mission and aid to Libya. Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press.

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