19 April 2017 - Libya: The renewed commitment of the UN is urgent [fr]
Libyea - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 19 April 2017
I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Martin Kobler, for his very illuminating briefing, for his tireless commitment and for the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (S/2017/283).
For my part, I will discuss the security, political and economic situation in Libya, which we consider to be a cause for concern, and propose some possible lines of action towards which I believe we are converging collectively and which we must urgently implement.
From a security point of view, we are particularly concerned about the developments taking place in the south of the country, while major progress had been made elsewhere. In Tripoli, the Government of National Accord contributed to the adoption of a globally respected ceasefire and is setting up security institutions, including the Presidential Guard, which France is helping to train. These efforts, in conjunction with the United Nations and the European Union, are essential to protecting the institutions and the people of Libya. Libyan forces have also made significant progress in the fight against terrorism, particularly in Sirte and Benghazi.
On the other hand, for several weeks now, skirmishes among Libyan armed groups, fighting each other instead of uniting against terrorism, confirm the dangerous temptation to take up the military solution. Shows of strength lead only to political deadlock and chaos in terms of security, creating fertile soil for the resurgence of terrorism. Reckless armed offensives, such as those which took place recently in Sabha, in southern Libya, could only cause things to boil over, thereby endangering the political process. This escalation must cease immediately to allow for dialogue and national reconciliation, and it is our urgent responsibility to so inform the Libyan parties. In this respect, the role of Libya’s neighbouring countries is invaluable in achieving a return to peace. We welcome in particular the efforts of Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia.
At the political level, a consensus is emerging around amending elements of the Libyan Political Agreement in order to make the institutions more effective and more representative, which is a step in the right direction. However, several obstacles remain. The Government of National Accord, which was the result of the Skhirat Agreement, which we all recognize, regularly finds itself in difficulty. The Parliament, which today draws its legitimacy from this inter-Libyan political agreement, seems to be constrained in its efforts to promote dialogue. France denounces actions aimed at undermining institutions that were established based on the Skhirat Agreement, which reduce the chances of getting out of the political impasse. In this context, we fully support the work of the United Nations to mediate between Libyans and to coordinate all regional and international initiatives. We welcome the integration of the European Union into the troika, which has now become the quartet.
Finally, on the economic side, progress has been made with the adoption of the 2017 budget by the Government of National Accord, but certain developments call for the utmost vigilance. The National Oil Corporation, the only recognized actor in the field, is threatened in its full exploitation of oil under the supervision of the Government of National Accord and is torn between the various factions of power. Relations between the Central Bank and the Government of National Accord remain tense, although the so-called economic dialogue is working to smooth things out. It is essential to preserve economic and financial institutions and ensure that they operate under the control of the Government. Oil money must be for building the State, for the sake of the Libyan people and its prosperity; it is not for financing a war economy or trafficking of any kind.
Furthermore, I would like to echo the Secretary-General’s report in denouncing human trafficking in Libya. We call on the Libyan authorities to do their utmost to ensure that migrants are treated with dignity on Libyan soil. This is a priority with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights and the fight against organized crime. In this context, we have to ask, how do we get out of this crisis? A reaffirmed commitment on the part of the international community is essential, urgent and based on three complementary concepts.First, as we have repeatedly affirmed, the solution to the Libyan conflict can only be a political one. Let us remember that the logic of the Skhirat Agreement is based on an agreement among Libyan political forces, excluding terrorists, around a new model of the distribution of power. It is therefore a choice in favour of dialogue and the refusal to use weapons. In this context, those who use weapons rather than dialogue and who undermine any hope of stabilization and peace must be identified.
We must therefore reaffirm our collective support, under United Nations auspices, for the collaborative review of the Libyan Political Agreement. Accordingly, we encourage dialogue between the Presidential Council, the Parliament of Tobruk and the High State Council so that each body can find its place. We come together around this table on this point and we are increasingly doing so, I believe. Neighbouring countries, particularly Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia, are stepping up their efforts to reach a political compromise in support of United Nations mediation. Once again, we commend those important efforts.
Secondly, it is incumbent on the Council to ensure the maintenance, effective enforcement and strengthening of the Council’s mechanisms pertaining to the arms embargo, which we have established, and to combating the illegal exportation of oil pursuant to the resolutions, which we have adopted. In that regard, I must thank the Swedish chairmanship of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya. Libya’s oil resources must remain under the exclusive control of the Government of National Accord and the National Oil Corporation of Tripoli, for the benefit of all Libyans. We must show collective resolve in ensuring the prevention of all forms of the illegal export of oil. We welcome the decision of the Presidency Council to appoint the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of National Accord, Mr. Mohamed Siala, as Libya’s focal point for requesting exemptions from the embargo for the benefit of that Government.
Thirdly and finally, the Security Council must exercise all of its authority in the matter to encourage the Libyans to get along. In that regard, I vigorously commend the work of the Special Representative and encourage the work of the United Nations and the Secretary-General with regard to this issue, which are essential to revitalizing the political process and coordinating diplomatic efforts. Given the scale of the current challenges, the unity of the international community and the leading role of the United Nations, accompanied by new proposals, are more necessary than ever. The moment has come for renewed and strengthened commitment, which has taken on urgency, by the United Nations while we assume together our responsibilities.