The situation in Libya- Security Council, 8961st Meeting

Preview Language:   Six Official
31-Jan-2022 00:56:46
Security Council extends mandate of United Nations Support Mission in Libya for three months, unanimously adopting resolution 2619 (2022).

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The Security Council, acting unanimously today, decided to extend for three months the mandate of its special political mission in Libya.

By the terms of resolution 2619 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2619(2022)), the 15-member Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until 30 April, as laid out in resolution 2542 (2020) and paragraph 16 of resolution 2570 (2021). Recalling that UNSMIL should be led by a Special Envoy, it also recognized the Secretary-General’s responsibility to appoint an individual to that position, as set out in resolution 2542 (2020).

As Council members took the floor to explain their positions, many voiced regret that negotiations on the draft resolution failed to result in a substantive renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate with updates and improvements to better facilitate its work.

James Kariuki (United Kingdom) said that, as penholder on the current agenda item, his delegation worked hard to secure a substantive mandate renewal for UNSMIL. Expressing regret that such an outcome was not possible, he emphasized that “Libya is at a fragile juncture”, and noted that the Mission’s work is more crucial than ever.

Nathalie Broadhurst Estival (France), describing her vote as a reaffirmation of the country’s support for UNSMIL, noting that Libya is at a critical moment in its political transition. The Council should encourage Libyans to reconcile their differences in order to allow for presidential and parliamentary elections in line with the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. She also urged the Secretary-General to name his Special Envoy without delay and called for a restructuring of UNSMIL in order to help it carry out its mandate, noting that Council members should act towards that end as they consider the Mission’s renewal at the end of April.

Michael Kapkiai Kiboino (Kenya) was among those speakers who said UNSMIL would have been better enabled through a substantive mandate renewal, rather than by today’s technical rollover resolution. While he voted in favour of the text, he warned that “this Council is missing another significant opportunity to strongly back Libya’s national dialogue and reconciliation efforts, which are critical to the progress of the peace process”.

Jim Kelly (Ireland), noting that his delegation voted in favour of the text, joined others in expressing regret that the Council once again failed to reach consensus on a substantive resolution that would better equip UNSMIL, including through the implementation of the recommendations of the Mission’s strategic review. Noting that UNSMIL’s role is more important than ever given the fragility of the situation, he described the Council’s sustained support as essential to instil confidence in the political process. “We hope that the next discussions towards the renewal of the Mission’s mandate will prove more fruitful,” he said.

Paula Aguiar Barboza (Brazil) delegate said she voted in favour of the text “because the alternative […] would send an even more negative message”. However, the way the text was negotiated was far from ideal, she said, adding that the Council’s inability to agree on ways to strengthen UNSMIL at the present crucial juncture is regrettable.

Ghasaq Yousif Abdalla Shaheen (United Arab Emirates), voicing support for a peace process that is Libyan-led and Libyan-owned, joined others in noting that her delegation would have preferred a substantive renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate. “We look forward to the proper consensus in the future that will allow the Council to strengthen UNSMIL,” she said.

Albana Dautllari (Albania), noting that her delegation voted in favour of the text, expressed her hope that in future negotiations consensus will prevail, including on the inclusion of UNSMIL’s strategic review in subsequent mandate renewals. She also spotlighted the importance of holding free and fair elections and voiced support for both UNSMIL’s work and for the efforts of Acting Special Envoy Stephanie Williams, who was appointed by the Secretary-General in early December 2021 to be his Special Adviser on Libya.

Enrique Javier Ochoa Martínez (Mexico) echoed the disappointment voiced that adjustments to give the Mission additional tools to realize its mandate were not reflected in the text. The constructive spirit of the Council has not prevailed, he said, calling on the Secretary-General to appoint an African candidate to head the Mission.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis (United States) said today’s vote is a suboptimal outcome for the Libyan people and a poor result from the Council. UNSMIL plays essential roles in relation to elections and the ceasefire. The Council must work with the roll-over text just adopted, he said, calling on members and Libya’s neighbours to support the Special Envoy’s efforts.

Anna M. Evstigneeva (Russian Federation), expressing support for UNSMIL, encouraged all Libyan actors to make use of the Council’s support, define deadlines and hold elections. Continuing the Mission for three months will allow for a response to tasks ahead of the elections, she added.

Sun Zhiqiang (China) said elections are an important step for the Libyan people, who are looking forward to a new phase of national development. Parties must maintain the current pace of dialogue and create favourable conditions to hold elections. UNSMIL should provide necessary electoral support within the mandate, he said, underlining the importance of heeding the views of African States’ requests regarding the Mission’s leadership.

Mona Juul (Norway), Council President for January, spoke in her national capacity, expressing regret that consensus was elusive. Noting the changing situation on the ground in recent months, she said the foremost priority is to support Libya, and UNSMIL is essential to provide the nation with assistance.

Allegra Pamela R. Bongo (Gabon) declared: “Maintaining the consensus in this Council is the basis of our work.” However, the fact that today marks the second technical rollover of UNSMIL’s mandate reveals deep divisions within the organ at a time when Libyans desperately need its support. Reiterating his call for “African solutions to African problems”, she urged the Council to work towards consensus in support of the Libyan people.

The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 3:25 p.m.

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