Security Council

The situation in Libya - Security Council, 9047th Meeting

Despite progress towards forming new government in Libya, political impasse remains, threatening security, human rights, Under-Secretary-General tells Security Council.
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Tripoli remains tense, with clashes between armed groups, deadlocked negotiations and human rights defenders under attack, the United Nations political affairs chief told the Security Council today.

Briefing the Council on recent developments in Libya, Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, highlighted the political impasse and its negative impact on the security and humanitarian fronts. While the ceasefire continues to hold, she said, in the early hours of 17 May, supporters of Fathi Bashagha and Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh clashed with each other in the capital for several hours.

Noting agreements reached on several areas to form a new Constitution during the second round of consultations of the Joint Committee of the House of Representatives and High State Council in Cairo from 15-20 May, she said there remain many outstanding issues. They have agreed to reconvene in June, with the aim of reaching a consensus to finalize the constitutional arrangements for the holding of national elections — delayed from last December — as soon as possible.

Also pointing to the closure of several oil fields and ports due to the reluctance of the Government of National Unity to pay the Libyan National Army’s salaries for the first quarter of 2022, she added that the Economic Working Group of the Berlin Process has been crafting a revenue management mechanism to overcome the disagreement over the use of public funds.

Drawing attention to several humanitarian concerns, she noted a new wave of arrests of young people for alleged crimes against “Libyan culture and values” as well as restrictions on the work of civil society organizations, accused of violating “the principles and values of Libyan society”. Further, internally displaced people and undocumented foreign nationals are in particularly precarious situations, she pointed out.

The Council also heard from T.S. Tirumurti (India), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya, who presented that body’s report for the 17 March to 26 May 2022 period, drawing attention to a number of issues such as acts that threaten Libya’s stability, breaches of the arms embargo, and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

During the ensuing discussion, delegates voiced concern about the recent clashes, urging all parties to exercise restraint and ensure the protection of civilians, while also calling for dialogue and consultations to break the political impasse.

Stressing that the status quo is not an option for Libya, the representative of France called for establishment of a unified and inclusive Government fully capable of ruling across the entire territory. He also expressed concern about the continued oil blockade as well as the postponement of the elections, calling for a new road map for the holding of elections.

Likewise, the United States representative wondered how long the 3 million Libyans who registered for the elections will have to wait for them and clarified that those who obstruct the political transition may face sanctions. Libyans are still being robbed of the peace they deserve, she said, urging all armed groups to cease fighting and preserve the 2020 ceasefire. Noting the crack down on civil society, she said: “This is not what a free, fair and open Libya looks like.”

The representative of the Russian Federation stressed that Libyans will be able to overcome difficulties on their own without heavy-handed external interventions. Calling for a balanced and phased withdrawal of all non-Libyan armed groups and military units, he also noted the lack of leadership at the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) as the position of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Libya has been vacant since November 2021.

Kenya’s delegate, also speaking on behalf of Gabon and Ghana, stressed the importance of appointing a Special Representative of the Secretary-General with a deep understanding of the conflict and the wider region. Emphasizing that UNSMIL must be provided with the necessary support to execute its mandate, he also applauded the members of the Joint Committee of the House of Representatives and the High State Council for the dedication shown in recent talks. “This demonstrates the ability of the political class in Libya to opt for dialogue in breaking the current political stalemate,” he said.

The Libyan people have lost faith in the Council, that country’s representative stated. They have heard enough of the same speeches from the body, he said, emphasizing the challenges of living with a proxy war, foreign intervention and terrorist activities. The elections scheduled for 24 December have not taken place, and the Council has not been able to agree on the appointment of a new Special Envoy, who will be the ninth such envoy in 11 years. Calling the situation a nightmare, he expressed alarm and regret at the Council’s inability to intervene.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, Albania, China, United Arab Emirates, India, Norway and Mexico.

The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m.

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