MIL-OSI United Nations: Security Council: Libya


Source: United Nations 4

Note:  A complete summary of today’s Security Council meeting on Libya will be available on Tuesday, 28 June.


ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, noted progress on the constitutional track, with the third round of consultations of the House of Representatives and the High State Council on a constitutional basis for elections, held in Cairo from 12 to 20 June.  Delegates reached a broad consensus on most of the contentious articles in the 2017 Constitutional Proposal, although differences remain over the transitional period leading to the elections.  She called on the Council and international partners to urge leadership of the two chambers to agree on outstanding issues and make the elections happen, reiterating the need for a reconciliation process that is inclusive, victim-centred, rights-based, with a focus on truth, accountability and reparations.

Noting noted political divisions contribute to a tense security environment in and around Tripoli — with armed groups positioning themselves in support of either Mr. Dbeibah [Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh, Prime Minister of the internationally recognized Government of National Unity] or Mr. Bashagha [Fathi Bashagha, Prime Minster Designate of Libya] — she noted the United Nations’ readiness to facilitate dialogue between them.  A recent plenary meeting of the Security Working Group of the Berlin Process, with the participation of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission focused on the need to strengthen the ceasefire, including through disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups and militias and the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces.  The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) ceasefire monitors remain based in Tripoli, pending approval by relevant authorities of accommodation and workspace.

On the economic front, the partial shutdown of Libya’s oil sector continues, reducing oil exports by one third and costing the country $3.1 billion in lost revenue, she continued.  Furthermore, the human rights situation in Libya remains alarming, with politically active women and men targeted with hate speech and incitement to violence.  Since May, UNSMIL has received further reports of serious allegations of torture against Libyans, migrants and asylum-seekers in detention facilities and prisons.  Libyan authorities must investigate all allegations of torture and other human rights violations in detention centres, with those responsible for grave human rights violations held accountable.

She called for the extension of the mandate of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, essential to investigate and report on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.  While the United Nations recorded the return of an additional 10,000 internally displaced persons as of 14 June, she said the threat of forced evictions remains.  Stressing that Libya has made significant progress in the last few years toward a more inclusive society, she called for collaboration to ensure that momentum does not dissipate.  “The United Nations priority in Libya remains to facilitate a return to the electoral process, based on a sound and consensual constitutional basis for elections.  This is what the Libyan people have asked for,” she emphasized.

BUSHRA ALHODIRI, Operation Manager of the Fezzan Libya Organisation, via video teleconference from the city of Sebha, in the south of Libya, gave Council members an update about women’s participation in the political space and public services, as well as the obstacles they face.  The issues surrounding female participation in Libya are complex, as women are seen as weak and only allowed to work in a few jobs, as employment policies and the workplace also discriminate against them.  Women’s political participation continues to face significant challenges.  When they try to enhance their participation in peace negotiations, women are often rejected, as demonstrated when the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs announced Libya’s withdrawal from the Memorandum of Understanding on Women and Peace, signed with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).  The memorandum had sparked widespread controversy, community backlash and assumptions from religious leaders that the memorandum, and resolution 1325 (2000), are against the religious principles, norms and habits of the community.

More than a decade has passed since the peaceful revolution turned to an armed internal war, and people living in Libya struggle to survive, especially women and youth, she continued.  The lack of security women are experiencing is one of the biggest issues impeding women’s participation in politics, preventing gender equality and marginalizing their future engagement.  Civil society organization activists, women human rights defenders and journalists continue to be the targets of social media harassment, physical attacks, kidnappings and murders.

Increasing the number of women in public service is an excellent starting point, but achieving meaningful participation for women also requires adopting pro-women legislation, she stressed.  It is time for Libyan policymakers and the international community to understand that achieving true democracy, justice and equality for everyone requires women’s significant participation.  She voiced her hope that the Council would endorse several recommendations for Libyan women.  

She went on to say that these recommendations include efforts to encourage women’s participation in the political space and peacebuilding in Libya regardless of the obstacles; improving services aimed at women; and greater coordination between governmental bodies, nongovernmental organizations and the international community, in order to improve programs delivered for women at a national and local level.  Another recommendation is strengthening the position of women through legislation and increasing women’s quota in upcoming parliament elections to 50 per cent, with an even greater participation in legislative committees.  The intervention of UNSMIL to support Libyan authorities to create a national framework for the growth of rural, displaced and domestic violence-victimized women is crucial as well, she stressed.


JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) noted that, given elections were not held in December, the Libyan Political Dialogue Road Map has expired, and parallel Governments and institutions are not working in the interest of the Libyan people — nor is unconstrained spending.  He urged all parties to ensure that Libyan resources are managed in a transparent manner.  Citing the meeting between the House of Representatives and the High State Council, he stressed the onus is now on the leaders of those two chambers to urgently finalize the legal basis for elections and allow the people to choose their leaders.  Noting it is more important than ever to secure the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay, including the Wagner Group, he voiced support for the work of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, and urged all parties to engage with the United Nations.  His delegation will work with Council members in coming days on renewing the mandates of the Panel of Experts and UNSMIL, and he expressed hope that the latter mandate can be extended for a longer period to ensure its stability.

HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), also speaking for Gabon and Kenya, stressed that a true Libyan-led and -owned peace process cannot be achieved without mainstreaming dialogue and reconciliation.  Commending the Libyan authorities for the launch of the strategic vision for the National Reconciliation Project, he also underlined the need for the structure on which elections are held, with full participation of women and young people.  Expressing concern about reports of violence in and around Tripoli, he called for caution against any resort to violence and called on all parties to desist from inflammatory rhetoric, and all foreign fighters, forces and mercenaries to leave the country immediately.

Also urging the Security Council to push for the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the adherence to the arms embargo, he stressed that the Libya peace process is inextricably tied to the stability of the Sahel region.  Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration efforts be not only focused within Libya, but also taken in a cross-border manner.  Among other things, he also highlighted the necessity that UNSMIL be clearly structure, and he urged that any action on Libya’s frozen assets be done in consultation with the Libyan authorities to ensure they are preserved for the benefit of the Libyan people.

MADHU SUDAN RAVINDRAN (India), expressing concern about the risk of backsliding progress made after the signing of the ceasefire agreement, spotlighted the reports of armed clashes and mobilizations of armed groups in and around Tripoli.  He also said that it was regrettable that there is still no agreement on the constitutional basis for holding elections.  “The priority right now is to ensure that elections are held at the earliest in a free, fair, inclusive and credible manner,” he stressed, while also underscoring the importance of the full and complete withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries.  It was also important to ensure that the political process in Libya is fully Libyan-led and Libyan-owned with no imposition or external interference.  In addition, it was important to plan for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups and non-state armed actors.  Libya also needs an inclusive and comprehensive national reconciliation process, he emphasized, calling on the international community to focus on the threat of terrorism in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region.

MONA JUUL (Norway), welcoming progress achieved during the last round of talks towards agreeing on a Constitutional framework for elections, called on leaders on both sides to follow up and resolve outstanding issues with the aim of holding free, fair and inclusive national elections as soon as possible.  Voicing concern over increased tensions in recent weeks, especially in and around Tripoli, she stressed that progress made since 2020 “must not go to waste”.  She therefore noted with concern the deterioration of public services — particularly education and health services.  In addition, she expressed concern regarding significant protection challenges, warning that further destabilization might threaten the ceasefire agreement and the Government’s viability, risking resumption of the conflict.  She also voiced concern over the situation of civil society members and human rights defenders in Libya, and supported the extension of the fact-finding mission’s mandate.

RICHARD M. MILLS (United States) said it was appalling that small cabals of men — in most cases backed by weapons instead of popular legitimacy — have spent six months cutting deals and crafting schemes to decide who will be in power and get which spoils, while 3 million Libyans wait to vote for their leaders.  The country has reached a critical moment and must choose a trajectory, either to build consensus and foster unity towards fair elections and stability, or wallow in the status quo, condemning the people to uncertainty, stagnation and potential violence.  Just because the road map has expired does not change the facts on the ground nor break the political impasse; rather it increases uncertainty and is a distraction as Libyan leaders delay elections to prolong their time in power.  Voicing encouragement at progress made by the House of Representatives and the High State Council towards a constitutional framework for elections, he stressed that sort of leadership is desperately needed to send Libyan on path towards stability.  He also called on UNSMIL to implement the recommendations of the independent strategic review so it can carry out its mandate for stability, peace and prosperity and urged the Council to provide the Mission with a substantive one-year mandate to address the many issues facing Libya.

JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), praising the agreement between the High Council of State and the House of Representatives that led to meetings scheduled for 28 and 29 June in Geneva, expressed hope that the parties will reach a common ground.  He endorsed the continued relevance and legitimacy of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum Road Map and welcomed the strategic vision of the National Reconciliation Project, expressing his hope that the latter will soon be thoroughly implemented.  Turning to peace and security, he regretted the continued acts of violence across Libya and reiterated the importance of the 2020 ceasefire agreement, noting that the Action Plan by the 5+5 Joint Military Commission is a cornerstone of its implementation.  “We support considerate institution-building in Libya, led and done by Libyans themselves, with full national ownership, and firmly believe that these institutions will strengthen Libya’s capacity to foster peace and security,” he added.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said the status quo cannot be an option.  The priority must be to resolve the crisis of executive power and achieve a unified Government capable of conducting elections throughout Libya.  Given progress made at the meetings in Cairo, he encouraged the two leaders of the chambers to finalize the agreement on the constitutional basis during their meeting in Geneva on 28 and 29 June.  It is further vital to ensure the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries as soon as possible, with the objective of reunifying Libyan institutions, particularly military and security.  Welcoming the resumption of the work of the 5+5 Joint Military committee, he recalled the obligation imposed on all Member States to respect the arms embargo.  Voicing concern over the oil blockade, he noted his delegation is ready to help Libyans enable transparent and equitable management of the country’s resources.  The mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission on Libya should be renewed, as it is essential to address worrisome violations of human rights, particularly of migrants.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to appoint a special representative as soon as possible, calling on the Council to cooperate on a substantial renewal of the UNSMIL mandate next month.

ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) said the situation has become unsustainable.  There is a contradiction between the interests of more than 3 million Libyan citizens and others who are using all types of tactics to delay the transition.  He expressed his support for the United Nations in its process and urged the inclusion of those Libyan stakeholders that are sincere in the election process.  As well, UNSMIL needs to be strengthened through robust leadership and a substantial mandate to face the challenges, and Council members should be guided by a constructive approach to strengthen the mission.  In the security domain, he criticized the violence occurring on the outskirts of Tripoli.  He also called for respect for the arms embargo.  There should be more information about the United Nations component of the ceasefire-monitoring mechanism.  He also condemned the actions taken to ban and boycott Libyan oil, adding that such actions deprive the country of the ability to meet the needs of its citizens.

DAI BING (China) noted that, as differences still exist on such key issues as elections, the parties must put the interests of the Libyan people first.  The positive momentum of three rounds of dialogue between the House of Representatives and the High State Council in Cairo must be maintained, thereby resolving a package of issues including a constitutional framework for elections and the distribution of oil revenue.  Voicing support for the appointment of an African as a special representative and for the full function of UNSMIL, he further welcomed meetings of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission and full deployment of the UNSMIL ceasefire monitoring team.  The international community must remain committed to a Libyan-owned and -led process, respecting Libyan sovereignty, providing assistance and avoiding imposing external solutions — which are the reason the country is mired in difficulties.  To advance the peace process, he urged parties to strengthen consultations and facilitate distribution of oil revenues, as comprehensive national reconciliation is the key to peace and stability.  Libya must strengthen cooperation with the African Union and League of Arab States.  Further, as the country has raised demands about revenue losses due to frozen assets, the Council and the Sanctions Committee must respond to that request.

CÁIT MORAN (Ireland) implored all the parties in Libya to set aside differences and to agree, as soon as possible, on a political framework.  She also called upon the Council and the wider international community to hold true to the spirit and the letter of the Berlin Process, the relevant Security Council resolutions and the conclusions stemming from subsequent regional and international meetings on Libya towards realizing a peaceful, stable and prosperous Libya.  This should be a Libyan-led and -owned process that paves the way to free, fair, and inclusive national elections.  As well, women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in all aspects of Libya’s political transition and peacebuilding efforts should be ensured.  She expressed concern about, among other things, the increasingly unstable security situation, as witnessed in Tripoli recently, and called for progress on the full withdrawal of all foreign fighters, foreign forces and mercenaries.  Addressing the underlying causes of conflict is also crucial to restoring peace and prosperity for all Libyans.  That means ensuring the transparent, accountable, fair, and equitable distribution of public wealth and resources for the Libyan people.

MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates), welcoming the progress made by the Libyan parties after the conclusion of the third round of consultations of the Constitutional Track Committee in Cairo, stressed that stability requires the removal of all obstacles to ending the political divide between the Libyan parties.  The most important of such obstacles is insecurity, especially in light of the escalation and recurrence of clashes between armed groups in Tripoli and the military build-up in its vicinity.  As a matter of priority, security and military institutions should be consolidated and disarmament issues addressed.  Stressing the need to implement Security Council resolutions related to the withdrawal of forces, foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya in a simultaneous, phased, gradual, and balanced manner, he noted that security vacuums must not be exploited by extremist and terrorist groups that are waiting for any opportunity to expand and extend their control in Libya.  In addition, political differences should not be a reason or catalyst for the spread of hate speech and incitement of violence.  Efforts must be intensified to combat this discourse in all its forms, in support of peacebuilding and stability in Libya.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said the situation in and around Libya is destabilizing and the country is unable to cope with the fallout from the Western aggression in 2011 that caused the Libyan State to collapse and created the ongoing political crisis.  Last week, the road map expired; that does not mean that its spirit cannot remain relevant for the future of Libya.  Among other things, he welcomed progress on the political settlement track and expressed hope the upcoming talks in Geneva will help ease the disagreements and reach a resolution.  He welcomed that the ceasefire is being upheld and that the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission is doing its work.  International efforts should be consolidated on the Libyan track.  Yet those who destroyed Libya in 2011 apparently now have completely separate plans.  It is difficult to explain the very non-constructive position of Western colleagues, he said, pointing to a position of his British colleagues.  There are bare-faced double standards.  The Mission has a key role to play as a key mediator.  Yet its structure has been decapitated and it cannot fulfil its key functions without a leader to facilitate national dialogue.  Western colleagues, in a spirit of neo-colonist thinking, want to impose their script on the country’s future.  He called on the Secretary-General to use a calibrated and balanced manner as the special representative is selected.  The views of internal Libyan stakeholders need to be upheld, not the views of Western camps, who view Libya as their backyard.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania), Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, said that rivalry and armed men can only bring the country backwards, and that must not happen.  A Libyan-led and owned process is the only path leading to free and fair elections, and the only way forward to stability.  He called on the presidents of the House of Representatives and the High State Council to engage in good faith on 28 June in Geneva, respecting the will of the people, and to pursue an inclusive political compromise.  Furthermore, those undermining the process towards elections must be held accountable.  As maintaining stability on ground is crucial, he expressed concern over increased tensions among militias, also welcoming resumption of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, urging all actors to redouble efforts to completely implement the ceasefire — including the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries.  Calling on all stakeholders to uphold human rights commitments rather than undermine them for short-term political gains, he voiced support for extension of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya.  Noting that the shutdown of over 30 per cent of the Libyan oil sector undermines the country’s economy, infrastructure and basic services, he called for Council adoption of a robust, renewed UNSMIL mandate in July.

Mr. KARIUKI of the United Kingdom, taking the floor for the second time, said the Russian Federation’s representative stressed the importance of Council unity.  Yet one Council member has blocked Council consensus regarding Libya, he pointed out, adding that the United Kingdom remains committed to delivering a more peaceful country to the Libyan people.

Mr. MILLS JR. (United States), taking the floor for a second time, categorically objected to accusations by the Russian Federation that his delegation was obstructing a Council product on Libya today — stressing that he had, rather, joined the majority Council members in submitting edits to strengthen it.  These were legitimate and supportive edits.  Contrary to wild claims of a neocolonialist plot, the United States has never blocked the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General for UNSMIL, welcoming and supporting several candidates — which he does not believe can be said of the Russian Federation’s delegation.

For information media. Not an official record.

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