Libya: work for national reconciliation [fr]
Security Council - Libya - Speech by. Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 16 November 2017
"Defeating terrorism in the country in the long term and responding to the challenges presented by migration demands a political solution that allows for national reconciliation and the restoration of a State in full control of its territory.", François Delattre, 16 November 2017.
I thank Special Representative Ghassan Salamé for his very enlightening briefing and welcome his continued efforts in the quest for a political solution, which, needless to say, is the only way forward in Libya. I also thank the Permanent Representative of Sweden for his helpful briefing on the ongoing work of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya.
For France, success in Libya depends on two complementary requirements. We must maintain unity within the Security Council in support of Mr. Salamé’s efforts in order to strengthen the current political momentum, while affirming that it is the joint responsibility of all the Libyan stakeholders to assume ownership of the political process and take their destiny into their own hands.
On the political front, we will continue giving our full support to the Special Representative in his difficult task. I would like to commend his exemplary commitment. The consultations between the two chambers begun in Tunis in September enabled a consensus to be reached on key points, including reform of the Presidency Council. The progress made in Tunis still has to be finalized in the next stages of the action plan, and our joint support to Mr. Salamé will be crucial for that.
As I have said, for the action plan to succeed, every Libyan stakeholder has to take on more responsibility. We encourage dialogue among all stakeholders within the Mr. Salamé’s framework, which represents the only valid mediation effort. We hope that everyone in Libya who has clout in the national reconciliation process will engage sincerely and resolutely with the Special Representative in order to implement the various stages of his action plan — the review by the High Statae Council and the House of Representatives of the Skhirat Political Agreement, the holding of an inclusive national conference, the preparations for elections and the adoption of the Constitution.
In that connection, France condemns the individual strategies that have led some key players to hold the Libyan Political Agreement review process hostage, as France’s Foreign Minister Le Drian had the opportunity to remind stakeholders. The international community must exert all its influence on Libyan officials to engage responsibly and unambiguously in the political process.
In that regard, we reiterate that the Skhirat Agreement remains the only valid and legitimate framework for any negotiations aimed at completing the transition and eventually establishing a constitutional framework and holding elections. We must continue to hammer home the fact that there can be no military solution in Libya. Defeating terrorism in the country in the long term and responding to the challenges presented by migration demands a political solution that allows for national reconciliation and the restoration of a State in full control of its territory.
We are very concerned about the increasing number of violent acts and the deteriorating security situation across Libya, from the recent strikes on Derna to the discovery of a mass grave in Al-Abyar in the Benghazi region. Fighting groups identified by the United Nations as terrorists is a priority, but so is ensuring the protection of civilians. Only the unification of all Libyan forces will effectively combat terrorism, secure borders and dismantle migrant trafficking networks. That is why building a unified national security architecture under the civilian authorities is a top priority.
It will also be essential to address economic and humanitarian issues as well as those on the security front, as Mr. Salamé emphasized so eloquently in his briefing. The situation for Libyans, particularly the middle class, is deteriorating rapidly and is not sustainable. Libya’s oil resources must remain under the exclusive control of the Government of National Accord and the National Oil Corporation of Tripoli, the only legitimate authorities, in order to benefit all Libyans in accordance with Council resolutions. We must preserve and strengthen the sanctions regimes within the framework of the arms embargo and the fight against illicit oil f lows in order to support the political process. We must also put an end to the parallel economy that Mr. Salamé called “the economy of predation”, which is fuelled by political divisions and conflict. We reiterate that the Council must be able to take all necessary measures against any individuals or entities threatening Libya’s stability. We must also continue to encourage dialogue between the Presidency Council and economic and financial institutions.
We are appalled by the deplorable treatment of migrants travelling through Libya. While the issue is yet another challenge for the Libyan authorities, it is also one for the international community. France therefore calls on the Libyan authorities to make every effort to ensure that migrants are treated with dignity and to strengthen officials’ cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration. The violence and abuse that has been inflicted on migrants in Libya is intolerable. Our top priority must be to protect human rights and combat organized crime. Strengthening national institutions and developing economic alternatives to trafficking are essential to that.
Lastly, we want to stress that it is important for Libya to fulfil its obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in handing over persons for whom arrest warrants have been issued. That would represent an important sign of the Libyan parties’ commitment to the fight against impunity, which is vital if they are to preserve the confidence of the Libyan people in their own State. The crimes that persist in Libya must not go unpunished. That is one of the necessary conditions not only for justice but also for reconciliation and peace.
In conclusion, on behalf of France, I would like to stress how urgent it is to continue implementing Mr. Salamé’s action plan, and all our joint efforts should be geared to that. It is in the best interests of Libyans, as well as the international community, to work for national reconciliation and a political consensus. Our unity and common commitment are more necessary than ever for achieving that and completing the various stages of the action plan. In that context, it will be important to maintain the resources of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya so that it can effectively discharge its mandate.