Urging Mandate Extension to Buttress Political Process, Country Representative Welcomes ‘Glimmer of Consensus’ from 15-Nation Organ
A prolonged stalemate over the executive branch of Government and lack of concrete action by relevant actors are further delaying the prospects for the holding of inclusive, free and fair elections in Libya, the senior United Nations official in that country told the Security Council today, noting that its political impasse has adversely impacted the security situation.
Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), briefing the Council for the first time since becoming Head of the Mission on 25 September, recalled that violent clashes in Tripoli on 27 August deepened tensions between eastern and western security actors, leading to fragile stability. The international community must support Libyan efforts in a coordinated manner, rally behind the United Nations and refrain from taking any action that could further deepen divisions, he said, calling on the Council to urge Libyan actors to work together towards elections.
He also reported that, despite significant differences on how Libyans want to overcome the current crisis, they are near unanimous in their condemnation of the presence of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces, and the incessant foreign interference in the country’s affairs. Noting his focused engagement with all Libyan institutional, political, security and civil society actors from across the country, he stressed that the solution to the crisis must come from inside Libya, based on the will of the Libyan people.
In the ensuing debate, several Council members expressed hope that the Special Representative’s engagement with all Libyan stakeholders will inject new momentum into the stalled political process, while others noted the Council’s forthcoming consideration of UNSMIL’s mandate and voiced their expectations of a one-year renewal. The Council’s most recent extensions of the Mission’s mandate within the past year provided only for short-term durations. (For background, see Press Release SC/14989.)
Ireland’s representative, urging all Libyan parties to renew momentum towards elections, and to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric or politicizing Libya’s natural resources, underscored that renewal of the Mission’s mandate for the standard twelve-month duration will provide much-needed stability and predictability to the Mission at a critical and sensitive juncture for Libya.
Norway’s representative, also underlining the need for a one-year extension of the Mission’s mandate, said that extension was necessary for UNSMIL to fulfil its role. Also stressing the need to implement the Strategic Review’s recommendations, she called for UNSMIL to have the necessary resources. In addition, there was a need to agree on a constitutional framework for the holding of elections and for a timeline to be established — a call echoed by other delegations.
Kenya’s representative, also speaking on behalf of Gabon and Ghana, emphasized that United Nations mediation and coordination support was critical to ensuring coherence in international support and preventing outside interference. The 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission efforts to implement the October 2021 Action Plan for the withdrawal of foreign forces, foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya must be supplemented by close collaboration between Libya, the United Nations, neighbouring countries and the African Union.
Mexico’s representative, in a similar vein, warned that external actors were fostering divisions between Libyans to promote their own geostrategic and economic interests. “Foreign interference in Libya must come to a stop and the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya must be respected,” he emphasized. He expressed hope that UNSMIL’s new mandate would consolidate the efforts to fight illicit flows of small arms and light weapons in Libya, in accordance with resolution 2616 (2021).
The representative of the Russian Federation, noting that the Mission had to operate without a chief for one year, said that while his delegation had previously insisted on a three-month technical extension of the Mission, it was now ready to consider extending that mandate for a lengthier duration, given the change in the Mission’s leadership. The Council must prevent outbreaks of violence from morphing into civil war, he said, underscoring the need for an inclusive political process, which includes representatives of the former regime.
The representative of the United States, joining other speakers, encouraged UNSMIL to also take the lead in establishing a transparent mechanism for the oversight and allocation of oil revenue. The non-transparent use of oil revenue for political and personal gain continued to prop up rival political figures, who divert funds to consolidate support, particularly among militias and foreign fighters. Welcoming the United Kingdom’s work on the draft resolution concerning UNSMIL’s mandate, he called on all members to continue productive engagement thereon, so that it has the year-long mandate it needs to accomplish its mission.
Libya’s representative, welcoming the “glimmers of consensus” that were beginning to emerge in the Council, said that UNSMIL’s mandate should be extended by consensus to buttress the political process in his country. The complex and protracted crisis cannot be solved through elections alone, he emphasized, calling for immediate logistical and technical support for the electoral process, as well as support for national efforts to end the cycles of conflict, violence, division and fragmentation. While the Libyan people will be able to extricate themselves from crisis, “they cannot be left alone to face their fate,” he said.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Albania, France, Brazil, China, India and United Arab Emirates.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 11:28 a.m.