It is urgent to progress on the path towards a political settlement [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 8 November 2018
First of all, I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for his particularly enlightening briefing on the latest developments in Libya and for his tireless work. I also thank the Ambassador of Sweden for his briefing on the work of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya and his visit there in early November.
The security situation in Libya, as described by Mr. Ghassan Salamé, is a source of concern. Struggles for influence among the militias continue on the ground. After clashes in Tripoli, several attacks took place in late October and early November against Libyan financial institutions, two schools and a hospital. The situation is also deteriorating in the south of the country, with the intrusion of foreign groups on Libyan soil. A terrorist attack claimed by Da’esh was perpetrated, as has already been mentioned, on 28 October in Central Libya after a first attack in early October, which is again extremely worrying.
In this context, I would like to once again welcome, on behalf of France, the efforts and commitment of Special Representative Ghassan Salamé and his robust mobilization on security developments. We remain engaged alongside him to achieve a lasting return to calm and the effective implementation of security arrangements in Tripoli. Faced with this unstable situation, the unification of the Libyan armed forces under civil authority remains a priority. I welcome the military dialogue sponsored by Egypt in this regard.
In this context, I wish to reiterate our concern about continuing economic predation and various attempts to destabilize the fragile equilibrium in Libya. As underscored by Mr. Ghassan Salamé on 5 September before the Council (see S/PV.8341), the predation economy lies at the heart of the Libyan challenge, as it encourages many actors to perpetuate the status quo rather than support the political transition. I want to make it very clear here that all those who threaten the peace, security and stability of Libya are liable to international sanctions. The renewal of the sanctions regime early this week (see S/PV.8389) allowed us to recall this, as did the recent designation by the Council of Ibrahim Jadhran, who stands accused of trafficking in persons. Other designations should also be considered, especially in view of the violence in Tripoli in recent months.
In this context, the pursuit of economic reforms is also a priority, particularly in terms of the collegial functioning of the Libyan Central Bank and the transparent management of Libya’s resources to the benefit of all Libyans. I encourage the Special Representative to pursue his efforts in this regard, in conjunction with all relevant actors and in support of the Prime Minister’s request to the Council. The conference to be held next week in Palermo, at the invitation of the Italian authorities, must be an opportunity to launch resolute action by the Libyan people and the international community against the predation economy.
The humanitarian situation also continues to deteriorate dramatically, particularly the situation of migrants and refugees, who face daily human rights violations. France reiterates its appeals to the Libyan authorities to spare no effort to ensure that migrants and refugees are treated with dignity. This is a top priority, both in terms of human rights protection and in the fight against organized crime. It is therefore urgent to progress on the path towards a political settlement, which brings me to my last point.
The Palermo conference, which the Italian authorities have undertaken to host in the wake of the Paris meeting on 29 May, gives the international community the opportunity to mobilize and demonstrate its unity in support of the efforts of the Special Representative and Libyans themselves. France welcomes this initiative, which should enable us to advance on all matters — including security, the economy and the political process — and in which our Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, will participate. It is essential to maintain our full support for the efforts of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Special Representative to break the institutional stalemate and advance the transition in Libya.
I thank the Special Representative for providing us with more detail on his framework for action through the National Conference, which we fully support. Libyans have demonstrated their peaceful aspirations for change by registering in their masses on electoral lists; their voices must be heard. The alternative to elections is the perpetuation of the predation economy and the rule of militias. This would allow free rein for those tempted to take the fate of Libya hostage. Only elections with a precise, rapid and ambitious calendar can anchor stability in Libya.
The status quo is our common enemy because it mechanically prolongs instability. However, there is a window of opportunity for a political dynamic. The Libyan actors must honour the commitments they made in Paris in May in order to break with the status quo and encourage this dynamic. The Palermo conference organized by Italy must be part of this framework, in the presence of the relevant actors, and reiterate the support of the international community for the UNSMIL action plan. It is fundamental that we support all these efforts and show real unity in encouraging Libyans to maintain the course set by the Special Representative. France will continue to work in this direction with all members of the Council.