Briefing on Libya - Security Council, 9098th Meeting

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25-Jul-2022 02:39:51
Progress on Libya’s road map for elections hindered by lack of consensus, dire economic conditions, demonstrations, senior official tells Security Council.

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Stressing Council Suffers from Paralysis, Country Representative Says Libyan Voices Must Be Heard, Elections Held

Despite the creation of a road map to bring Libya closer to essential presidential elections, the conflict-torn country remains enmeshed in a volatile environment fuelled by dire economic conditions, demonstrations and clashes between armed militias, a United Nations senior official told the Security Council today.

Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, briefed Council members on the results of a high-level meeting, held in late June at United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, that generated a detailed road map aimed at enabling national elections in Libya. Yet, despite that progress, the parties did not reach consensus on the eligibility requirements for presidential candidates.

She noted that, while the United Nations priority is a return to Libya’s electoral process, support is critical for Libyan counterparts to correct the factors behind the political and economic stalemate, including issues that triggered the storming of the Parliament building in Tobruk and wide-spread demonstrations across Libya. “The message from the young Libyans to their leadership was that they need to do more to improve their living conditions and that they want elections to be held as soon as possible in order to choose their legitimate representatives,” she said.

Ms. Pobee’s briefing also touched on the country’s dire economic situation, exacerbated by the politicization of the National Oil Corporation, and the country’s troubling human rights situation. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) was receiving repeated 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 violation, she stressed.

In the ensuing debate, Council members called for action from both Libyan leadership and the Council itself.

Norway’s representative said the protests in early July showed the patience of the Libyan people, who want the right to elect their own leaders, is not limitless. Also concerned with reports that the Libyan people are increasingly losing confidence in the United Nations, she urged the Council to live up to its responsibility and provide UNSMIL with a robust 12-month mandate renewal.

The representative of Kenya, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, underscored that recent events showed that Libyans could work together across the political divide. The Council must ensure that these processes are inclusive, nationally owned and free from any external interference. Calling for a substantial renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate, he also emphasized that the position of Special Representative be filled with a candidate from Africa.

Brazil’s representative, Council President for July, spoke in his national capacity, stressing that the Council has the authority and responsibility to positively influence important dynamics in Libya. One is UNSMIL’s capacity to engage with relevant actors, he said, noting that the appointment of the UNSMIL leader is key to its adequate functioning. He called on the Secretary-General and Council members to engage constructively in that endeavour.

The representative of Albania echoed the call for a Libyan-led and -owned process, supported by the United Nations, as the correct path. Nonetheless, he stressed that it would be a “major miss” for the Council, for the fifth time in a row, to be unable to give UNSMIL a 12-month mandate. “When the Council is unable to do its part, any call for Libyan actors to do theirs sounds shallow,” he added.

Libya’s delegate echoed that stance, saying that despite monthly meetings on Libya, the Council suffers from paralysis due to internal divisions. The Libyan people are fed up with these meetings and have lost hope. Since the beginning of the crisis, the Council has held more than 172 meetings with no result, he said, noting that there have been no sanctions imposed on countries or individuals that have obstructed relevant Council resolutions apart from those imposed in 2011, among other things. “So, the whole thing was and continues to be politicized,” he said.

He went on to question how solutions can be Libyan-led and -owned when they must be implemented under the auspices of the United Nations and the international community. Stressing the need of Libyan people to end the conflict and the “never-ending cycle of crises”, he said the solution is to support the peoples’ will to establish a stable State and a constitution that defines its political and economic systems. The starting point for this is listening to Libyan voices. “Leave Libyans alone”, he stressed. Instead, let them agree on the constitutional path and hold elections as soon as possible.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, United States, France, Ireland, China, United Arab Emirates and the Russian Federation,

The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 4:36 p.m.

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