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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
At the outset, the Philippines expresses its profound appreciation to you for convening this important and timely meeting on the situation in Libya. As I have stressed in several occasions, in our highly interdependent and networked world, geographical distance and remoteness no longer isolates countries and regions from developments in others. The on-going tension and conflict in Libya, if not resolved peacefully and quickly, could adversely affect the entire region and the world given the tendency of conflicts and volatile situations in one country or region to spill over to others. As Libya plunges into more chaos, even distant countries like the Philippines are not immune to these upheavals.
In addition to the internally displaced population in Libya, the ubiquity of citizens of third states there behooves the international community to ensure their security and welfare. The Philippines calls upon the Member States who are in a position to do so to allow access and provide safe passage to citizens of third states who are fleeing from the situation in Libya.
The Philippines and Libya have strong and vibrant bilateral ties. It is in this context that the Philippines is deeply concerned about the situation of a close friend. We hope and pray that the bloodshed and violence in Libya will soon end and that peace and stability will once again reign in that country.
For the Philippines, at stake is the security and well-being of around 26,000 Filipino nationals in Libya. As we speak the Philippine Government is doing its best to ensure the safety and welfare of Filipino nationals there and is exerting utmost efforts to evacuate them to safer grounds. In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to thank Tunisia, Egypt, Malta, Greece and Turkey as well other Mediterranean countries which have allowed safe passage to Filipinos who are transiting their territories in order to return to their homeland.
The United Nations and the international community have an inescapable responsibility to extend whatever assistance it could muster to the Libyan people during this time of emergency and cataclysmic changes. The stakes are high not only for the Libyan people but also for the entire world. The time-tested tools of diplomacy and peaceful dialogue between the contending parties must be harnessed and reinforced with vigor. A military solution will only cause more tragedy and hardship to the Libyan people.
The Philippines expresses its solidarity with the Libyan people. As a country that experienced a peaceful political transition through a people power revolution 25 years ago, the Philippines knows the high price of and tremendous sacrifice in achieving political freedom, economic liberties and justice in an non-violent way. The road to democracy is a long and arduous process, jotted by barriers and obstacles. But in the end, the beacon of democracy will not be extinguished and will continue to inspire oppressed peoples around the world determined to free themselves.
I thank you.
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