Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya - Security Council, 9223rd Meeting

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16-Dec-2022 01:37:44
One year after failing to hold elections, Libya’s situation deteriorating, Special Representative warns Security Council, calling for action towards electoral track.

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Stressing Solution Lies in Respecting Libyan Sovereignty, Country Representative Says Council Did Not Condemn Those Who Thwarted Elections.

Almost one year after the failure to hold elections, the situation in Libya is deteriorating on all fronts, the senior United Nations official in that country warned the Security Council today, calling for stakeholders and leaders to take urgent action to revive the electoral track, put aside own interests and restore the path to stability.

Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), reported that he has continued to dialogue with Libyan stakeholders and international partners to revive the electoral track in accordance with Council resolution 2656 (2022). He also undertook a tour of the region to meet with regional partners Türkiye, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Tunisia, seeking continued support for UNSMIL. However, the first important step, he stressed, is to afford the 2.8 million Libyans registered to vote the opportunity to select their country’s future leaders for a new era for Libya, its neighbours and the region.

To that end, he has urged the leaders of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to rise above personal and group interests, and work towards finalizing the constitutional basis for elections, he continued. The international community is already witnessing the signs of partition with two parallel governments, separate security apparatuses, a divided central bank, the decision by the House of Representatives to establish a constitutional court in Benghazi and growing discontent over unequal allocation of huge oil and gas revenues.

Still, despite the political impasse, the security and military track has demonstrated a stronger will to unify the country’s security institutions under the leadership of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, he said, adding that the ceasefire continues to hold, despite the situation remaining tense and unpredictable. He also called for laws that would provide protection for women and girl victims of violence and spotlighted the decision by the Government of National Unity to provide children of Libyan women, married to non-Libyans, access to basic services such as education and health, along with waived visa requirements for their children. This, he noted, was a step in the right direction.

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-seventh report covering the period from 31 August to 16 December. She gave detailed reports on vessel inspections, the asset freeze, sanctions list and travel ban measures, including a six-month exemption request granted for humanitarian purposes to three individuals on the Committee’s list: Safia Farkash Al‑Barassi, Ms. Al‑Qadhafi and Mohammed Al‑Qadhafi.

In the ensuing debate, Member States agreed that the situation is critical and urgently requires political, security and financial progress, while differing on the role of the international community in finding a way out of the enduring crisis.

Kenya’s delegate, also speaking for Gabon and Ghana, emphasized that for the peace process to be Libyan-led and -owned, the international community should desist from dictating solutions which are tantamount to foreign interference. International assistance is important but should not feed on the ongoing political impasse to further divide Libyans and advance a foreign agenda. As Libya is inextricably linked with her neighbours at every level, neighbouring States and regional and subregional organizations must coordinate with the United Nations-led process.

Echoing those sentiments, the Russian Federation’s delegate noted that leading political forces in Libya are seeking support from the outside and promising external players that their interests in the country will be guaranteed — hardly what ordinary Libyans deserve. The Mission must intensify its work as an impartial mediator and the parties must uphold their ceasefire commitments and refrain from postponing the unification of the armed forces. National oil revenues should be distributed fairly and transparently, he added. Otherwise, the Libyan people could again fall victim to the duplicitous policies of Western countries.

Albania’s delegate, citing the cancelled elections, stressed: “All this is wrong, disappointing, bad, counterproductive and just feeds in the never-ending frustrating impasse that Libyan leaders have made their refuge.” Only elections will provide legitimacy to the leaders and unify the country. Special interests should be set aside and common ground found to hold elections as soon as possible. The Libyan people have grown increasingly resentful of the corruption and benefits enjoyed by the few, whilst many live in poverty. The Council should call for all international partners to avoid interference and obstruction.

The representative of the United Kingdom also expressed disappointment over the lack of progress towards a legal and constitutional basis for elections, adding that the continued inability of the House of Representatives and High State Council to deliver this undermines their credibility. The Council should collectively pressure Libya’s political leaders to agree on an achievable basis for free, fair and inclusive parliamentary and presidential elections without further delay. All Libyan parties to must ensure that civil society actors — including women activists and peacebuilders — can continue their roles safely and unhindered.

The representative of Libya noted that almost 3 million voters had been looking forward to a democratic celebration of a way out of the bottleneck of conflicts. Unfortunately, the Libyan people were deprived of their historic duty and the Council was unable to condemn those who thwarted those elections. The country has thus entered a tunnel of despair, he said, questioning if the Council is serious about getting out of that vicious circle. The international community must support national efforts towards a constitutional basis for conducting parliamentary and presidential elections as soon as possible.

He emphasized that elections should be a means, and not an end, to prevent the deterioration of institutions. He highlighted the recent initiative by the Presidential Council to sponsor dialogue with the House of Representatives and the High State Council to consult on the constitutional framework and a timetable establishing the electoral entitlement of all Libyans. Certain States are trying to be manipulative and attempting to embezzle frozen Libyan assets, he warned, further requesting the delisting of certain citizens who are on the sanctions list, stressing that the solution to the crisis lies in ending any foreign intervention and respecting Libyan sovereignty.

Also speaking were the representatives of China, Mexico, Brazil, France, Ireland, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United States and India.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 11:43 a.m.

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