Libya: urgent need for a lasting ceasefire [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 29 July 2019
I thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salamé for his briefing and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany for his briefing on the work of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya.
Let me first reiterate France’s full support for the Special Representative and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, which are working tirelessly to find a political solution to the Libyan conflict.
In particular, I echo the Special Representative’s call for a humanitarian truce coinciding with the Eid Al-Adha holiday and the resumption of political dialogue.
1/ First, I note the stalemate of the situation on the ground and the risk of escalation, which remind us of the urgent need for a lasting and unconditional ceasefire.
The latest developments are worrisome. As the fighting enters its fifth month, it is ramping up and, as of now, is posing the threat of a major escalation.
As President Macron recalled, the situation in Libya is a humanitarian priority. Since the beginning of April, the fighting has killed more than 1,000 people and displaced more than 120,000. The 2-3 July bombing of Tajoura detention centre, which killed more than 50 people and wounded 130, which the Council unanimously condemned, once again highlighted the particular vulnerability of migrants and refugees. In such circumstances, it is urgent that the Libyan authorities end their systematic detention and comply with international humanitarian law.
It is imperative that civilian infrastructure not be used for military purposes and that civilians, including migrants, not be used as human shields, in violation of the principle of distinction.
All of that jeopardizes the political and diplomatic efforts led by Ghassan Salamé and erodes the prospect of exiting the political crisis.
The only ones who benefit from the continued fighting are terrorist and criminal groups, as evidenced by the presence of radical elements in several areas of fighting, including individuals who have been listed by the Council. The recent attacks claimed by Da’esh in the south and the centre of the country are yet another illustration of that phenomenon.
It is imperative that Libyan actors disassociate themselves in no uncertain terms from terrorist groups, both in their public statements and through their actions on the ground. It is equally important to initiate serious efforts, under the auspices of the United Nations, with regard to the economic, financial and monetary governance of Libya.
Finally, violations of the arms embargo to the benefit of the parties are fuelling the escalation under way. They must stop.
In order to prevent the situation from further deteriorating, the parties must respond to the call of Special Representative Salamé and accept a humanitarian truce, with no preconditions or time limits, to coincide with the Eid Al-Adha holiday on 10 August. Such a truce could pave the way towards achieving a lasting ceasefire with credible guarantees and international supervision.
2/ In that context, it is urgent to act to foster the resumption of political dialogue and to being working immediately on confidence-building measures.
The parties must agree on the parameters for ending the crisis. This past February, in Abu Dhabi, they agreed on the principles of institutional unification, necessarily leading to the formation of a transitional Government with a view towards the holding of elections.
The Abu Dhabi parameters remain valid. They must be matched with economic and financial reforms, the prioritized, swift implementation of the transparent governance of the Central Bank of Libya, reform of the management of oil revenue and the consolidation of financial institutions to the benefit of all Libyans.
France calls on the Libyan parties to resume discussions on that basis, under the auspices of the Special Representative.
In conclusion, I recall the central role of the Secretary-General and his Special Representative in reaching a settlement to the conflict, with the support of the Security Council. There is no military solution to the Libyan crisis. The implementation of a ceasefire and the relaunching of the political process are the only way forward.
That assessment is shared by the members of the Council and we must unite our efforts to achieve those goals. That is why we are in favour of the Council expressing its support for the efforts of the Special Representative to see the parties reach a lasting ceasefire, comply fully with the arms embargo and relaunch the political process.