Libya: Call for immediate ceasefire [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 21 May 2019
I thank Mr. Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Mr. Smaïl Chergui, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, for their briefings, which provided a detailed and informative assessment of the situation and the challenges that we currently face in Libya. I would also like to thank Ambassador Juergen Schulz for his briefing as the German Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya.
I would like to begin by expressing, on behalf of France, our particular gratitude to Special Representative Ghassan Salamé for his presence here among us today and for his commitment and to reiterate to him France’s full support in the execution of his mandate as he bravely works with his team in a particularly difficult context and a very fragile political environment.
At the outset, I would particularly like to echo Ghassan Salamé’s call for a ceasefire. Given the deadlock in the situation and the risk of escalation, it is imperative to establish a ceasefire without preconditions based on an international monitoring mechanism.
The new developments in the Libyan crisis are particular concerning, as has been said. The fighting has already had worrying humanitarian consequences since the beginning of April, with more than 500 dead and 75,000 displaced, clashes moving to densely populated areas and 3,200 migrants and refugees detained in centres near the fighting. All parties must comply with their obligations towards civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as humanitarian and health personnel.
The ongoing fighting also jeopardizes the political and diplomatic efforts to implement the United Nations road map. Let us not be mistaken — it is criminal, radical and terrorist groups that are benefiting from the situation, as evidenced by the infiltration, under the guise of defending the Government of National Accord, of radical elements in Tripoli, including individuals under Security Council sanctions, and the recent attacks claimed by Da’esh in the south and centre of the country.
That critical situation threatens to further deteriorate if nothing is done to overcome the current impasse in a context where it is clear that neither side can prevail by force. The continuation of hostilities, or even their spreading to other fronts in Libya, the rearmament of both sides and the increase in terrorist activities pose a major risk to the civilian population and the sustainability of the political process.
Under such conditions, I reiterate that our priority must be the rapid implementation of a lasting ceasefire, without preconditions, which in order to be credible must be supported by an international monitoring mechanism. We must also ensure that humanitarian channels are effectively established so as to facilitate the delivery of aid to all populations in need, including migrants and refugees.
It is also vital that the Libyan stakeholders disassociate themselves fully and unambiguously from terrorist groups both in their public statements and on the ground. Finally, as the Special Representative emphasized, the arms embargo established by the Council must be fully respected and implemented by all the parties.
Without an immediate ceasefire, the conflict could only further threaten international and regional peace and security. The resolution of the conflict and the stabilization of Libya are imperative for the Libyan people, who yearn for peace and stability, and for all of us because Libya is a priority security issue in the fight against terrorism, trafficking and migration management.
In that context, the other imperative is the resumption of political discussions as part of the United Nations-led process. The unconditional ceasefire is only a first step that must be supported by a revival of the political process on the basis of the principles established at the Paris, Palermo and Abu Dhabi meetings. That is the only way to create a new momentum for the holding of general elections as soon as possible to allow Libyans to decide their own destiny in a sovereign manner.
The Abu Dhabi agreement remains a valid basis because it establishes the principles for the reunification of the country and its institutions, paves the way for the formation of a unified Government to prepare for elections, and provides for political control of the military until the elections.
That is why France calls on the Libyan parties to resume talks on that basis, with the assistance of the Special Representative. The United Nations must continue to play a key role in resolving the conflict in Libya through the mediation of Special Representative Ghassan Salamé and with the Council’s full support. Within the Council we share significant points of convergence, in particular the observation that the priority is to relaunch the political process, that there is no military solution in Libya and that it is imperative to silence the weapons. Let us build on that convergence in support of the Special Representative.
It is also absolutely essential that the United Nations and its Panel of Experts on Libya be able to carry out their work independently and in appropriate conditions. With regard to the situation of Mr. Moncef Kartas, which the German Chairmanship of the sanctions committee mentioned just now, we are encouraged by the recent developments in Tunis. We thank the United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Miguel Ferreira de Serpa Soares, and his teams for their efforts and Tunisia’s commitment.
France will resolutely continue its efforts in support of Special Representative Ghassan Salamé to bring the Libyan stakeholders together around an inclusive political solution, leading as soon as possible to the elections demanded by the Libyan people, and to help build a lasting peace in Libya. That is the aim of the efforts being made by President Macron and Minister Le Drian, together with the Libyan parties.