The situation in Libya - Security Council, 9120th Meeting

Preview Language:   Six Official
30-Aug-2022 01:29:42
Support for Libya must help break political stalemate, serve to unite, not divide parties, senior official tells Security Council.

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Country Representative Calls on 15-Nation Organ to Shoulder Its Responsibility, Protect Civilians, Implement Resolutions

Deeply concerned by the ongoing political stalemate in Libya and outbursts of violence in Tripoli that claimed more than 40 lives this week, a United Nations senior official told Security Council members that all parties need to support efforts to move the country toward essential elections.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (document S/2022/632), said that the United Nations has continued to engage with Libyan actors to facilitate a resolution of the political impasse. However, the ongoing stalemate and continued delays have posed a growing threat to security in and around Tripoli, which materialized on 27 August, when violent clashes between armed groups broke out in the capital. According to the Libyan authorities, at least 42 people were killed, including four civilians.

She stressed that, as the political and security climate in Tripoli deteriorates, the United Nations must enhance its good offices and mediation to help Libyan actors resolve the ongoing impasse and seek a consensual pathway to elections. Still, despite two meetings between the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, and the President of the High State Council, Khaled Mishri, disagreements persisted, particularly on the eligibility criteria for presidential candidates.

However, she also pointed to positive developments, including the ongoing efforts of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission to preserve and strengthen the Ceasefire Agreement’s implementation and the General Assembly of the Supreme Court of Libya decision to restore the Court’s Constitutional Chamber, which had been suspended since 2016. “Libyans, themselves, are responsible for determining their own future,” she emphasized, adding that any support that the parties receive from within or outside Libya should serve to unite them, not divide them.

Ruchira Kamboj (India), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya, also briefed the Council, presenting the Committee’s forty-sixth report, which covered the period from 27 May to 30 August 2022. In her briefing, she detailed aspects of the arms embargo, travel bans and assets freeze related to Libya, including the intention to convene “informal informals” to discuss assets freeze-related matters.

Before the floor opened, Council members, at the request of the Libyan representative, stood and observed a moment of silence for the victims who have lost their lives since 2011. In the ensuing debate, speakers, expressing alarm at the recent violence in Tripoli, urged all parties to return to negotiations to establish fair and democratic elections.

Libya’s representative said that he requested he speak first at today’s meeting to convey the questions of Libya’s citizens and hear the Council’s response to the families of the victims, adding: “they are listening to you now”. Commenting that he was “tired of repeating the same statements”, he asked whether the Council would repeat its expressions of condemnation or shoulder its responsibility to maintain international peace and security and protect civilians. He stressed, however, that the Council is not being asked to intervene. Instead, it should be serious about implementing its resolutions and avoiding double standards.

Brazil’s delegate, recalling Libya’s concerns about how the Council has treated the situation, stressed: “We must listen to the Libyan parties’ concerns.” The appointment of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) leadership is one instance where views from within Libya cannot be ignored. Most importantly, UNSMIL must continue to foster common political ground between the two rival Governments so they can agree on a constitutional basis and the eligibility criteria for holding elections.

Albania’s representative pointed out that the recent fighting “has been a long time coming”. The protracted political impasse exacerbated the country’s increasingly volatile security situation. “Sadly, what we are facing today is the worst display of institutional rivalry through militias,” he observed. He called on Libyan stakeholders to put the Libyan people’s interests over their own narrow interests, stressing that only an elected, legitimate Government can meet the needs of the Libyan people.

The representative of China, Council President for August, spoke in his national capacity to welcome the recent preparatory meeting of Libyan parties held in the Republic of the Congo under the auspices of the African Union on reconciliation, noting that they had reached consensus on the next stage of that work. He pointed to external interference as the main reason for the unresolved situation in Libya, adding that the United Nations is the main avenue for extending good offices.

Kenya’s representative, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, called on Libya’s leaders to heed the people’s desire for peace and accept that no one side of the political divide will ever have a monopoly of force or political determination. Underscoring that Libya and Africa “have suffered enough”, he emphasized that the continent must collectively resist being divided for powerful foreign interests that only care for their own advantage and manoeuvres against each.

Ireland’s delegate stated that nearly two years have passed since the ceasefire agreement delivered fragile stability toward weary Libyans and it is now past time to fully implement that agreement. “Legitimacy comes only from the Libyan people. Legitimacy comes only from the ballot box. The current executive impasse can only be addressed through the holding of free, fair and inclusive elections,” she said.

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

The meeting began at 3:09 p.m. and ended at 4:39 p.m.

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