There is no military solution in Libya
Libya - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 24 may 2017
It’s important that we meet today on the situation in Libya, in particular after the latest events in the Southern part of the country. We are very concerned indeed by the military escalation in that part of Libya, in particular the recent clashes near the Tamanhint airbase and the recent attack in Brak al-Shati last week, which resulted in numerous executions of combatants but also civilians.
So number one, a very difficult situation, risky, that we have to follow very carefully.
Number two, it’s important for the Council to remind everybody, every player, that there is no military solution in Libya. And I don’t say that ‘par hasard’, I say that because some of the key players continue to believe there might be a military solution and they need to be convinced that it is not the case. So we need to send a clear message as the Security Council to all parties in Libya in this sense. It’s more urgent than ever to move forward on the political process. There are some positive signs, especially in the region tending to show that there is a willingness to promote such a political process. Several of our partners are mobilized in this direction, it’s good. For that, we think the UN has a key role to play in coordinating the on-going efforts of both regional and international players that we want to promote. We hope that the Secretary General will continue to show his determination to help the Libyans get out of this political stalemate. There is no time to waste.
I would conclude by saying that on Libya we believe that we have to shift into higher gear. Given both the risks at stake that I briefly mentioned at the beginning, especially in the southern part of the country, but also given the opportunities that we want to seize with the mobilization I was referring to of the regional players in particular, we have to accelerate and to give a new impetus to the political process. That’s why I said that we have to shift into higher gear, sooner rather than later.
Q: And is there added importance to do that now given that there appears to be some kind of Libya link with the Manchester attack?
What do you mean?
Q: As in the guy that was accused of the bombing, there was a suggestion he might have some training or something in Libya. I mean, some of the reports said that Islamic State presence was becoming smaller. How big of a concern is Islamic State in Libya?
It is a concern of course, and you remember the battle of Sirte, so it’s not over. We know that there are some cells that remain in the country. The terrible attack in Manchester (...) should not prevent us from pushing for a political solution in Libya, quite the contrary. So now is the time and I think this session is important to see whether there is, and hopefully yes, a consensus around the table to move ahead, sooner rather than later.
Q: In terms of the political stalemate which side is more responsible? Is it General Haftar or the government of President Sarraj?
One of my messages will be to precisely promote better understanding among the key players in Libya. And for that there is no secret: they need to meet. They have started to meet, it’s good, but among the four plus key players in the country, one of the key roles for the UN is precisely to make sure that they talk to each other and to coordinate their efforts. That’s what I was referring to when I said that the UN has a major role to play in this respect.