UNSC: United Nations Support Mission in Libya
By Patrick Liu
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) received a briefing on the situation in Libya from Ghassan Salamé, SRSG and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and Amb. Olof Skool (Sweden), chair of 1970 Sanctions Committee. The briefing updated the UNSC on the implementation of the UN Action Plan for Libya and the recent activities of the UNSMIL. Additionally, the UNSC discussed the current status of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), an agreement designed to establish unified and legitimate institutions with the capacity to deliver basic services.
Concerning the security situation, Libya had recent developments around Derna in Northeast Libya as well as an increased fighting south of Libya. Libya is also currently in preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections despite the terrorist attack by ISIS on the High Commission for National Elections in Tripoli on May 2nd. Amongst the instability, migrants in Libya continue to suffer from human rights violations by state officials, armed groups, traffickers, and criminal gangs. It is evident that there is a negative impact of the prolonged military and political conflict on the economic and humanitarian situation in Libya.
- Briefing on Libya from Special Representative of the Secretary-General: Mr. Ghassan Salamé
The Special Representative of the UNSG cited the “pockets of hope and concern” across Libya. For instance, while there have been positive developments with respect to democratization and peaceful elections, these positive developments have been overshadowed by border threats in southern Libya and violent actions in the major cities.
In order to ameliorate the situation in Libya, the Special Representative urged the unification of state institutions and the military. The special representative also hoped that the UNSC will focus on ensuring peaceful democratic elections in Libya.
On the humanitarian front, the special representative advocated for a renewed attention to tackling armed groups as well as traffickers of goods.” Lastly, the special representative lauded the dialogue in the UNSC, but hoped that the “aspirations of millions” will not be thwarted by the few. In closing, the special representative underscored that “when the UNSC speaks with a clear and unified voice, the Libyans listen.”
- Briefing on Sanctions Committee from Sweden
The Sanctions Committee briefing shared reports citing the possibility of new sanctions against 6 individuals, who have been accused of human trafficking and slavery.
- Statements from the P-5 members
- United States
The US renewed its stance behind peace efforts in Libya, as “lawlessness in Libya concerns us all.” The US also restated its position to support sanctions in Libya against groups that continue to violate international law.
In terms of finding a political solution, the US backed the UN dialogue as the only mediation process capable of supporting Libya. The US also addressed the need for a constitutional basis for both the presidential and parliamentary elections to ensure its validity. The US condemned the cowardly attacks on the elections committee.
- United Kingdom
The UK welcomed the elections and congratulated the people on achieving 2.4 million citizens registered to vote. Yet despite this accomplishment, the UK reiterates that the millions must participate in a “credible” electoral process. To this extent, Libya must coordinate the electoral process with the UN in order to ensure that election results will be fair and accepted.
France focused its attentions to the high tensions related to terror threats. In response, France pressed for the unification of the national military, under civilian control, to restore peace in all Libya regions. In terms of Libya’s economy, France cited the need to safeguard” the banking and oil production sectors from those seeking to “pillage” the country.
- Russian Federation
Russia acknowledged the complexity of the Libyan situation Russia continued by stating that Libyans should ultimately decide their own future for themselves. With the UN taking a leading role, Russia warned against “neighborly influences” that could impose interventionist influences on Libya.
China supported the international community focus to restore effective governance in Libya. Politically, China pressed an inclusive dialogue from national to local. In regards to security, China encouraged Libyan actors to practice trust-building measures to enable conditions for the UN action plan. Lastly, China supported sanctions and called on the Arab Union, African Union, and European Union to lead in assisting Libya through the political process.
- Statements from the Non P-5 members
- European (Netherlands, Sweden, Poland)
The Netherlands discussed efforts to end the political crisis in LIbya through well-prepared elections.
In regards to the migrants issues involving violations and abuses of human rights, the Netherlands pushed the use of sanctions against such traffickers. The Netherlands also focused their efforts on the “economies of predation” present in Libya due to the criminalization of the economy and urged the UNSC to address the situation as well..
Finally, the Netherlands stated that the international community and the UNSC should stand-by, ready to help Libya at any moment.
Other European states, such as Sweden and Poland, echoed similar views. Sweden added that due to the critical security situation, states must refrain from jeopardizing the political process in Libya. Furthermore, Sweden emphasized the bottom-up approach used to encourage the elections and build trust in the political process. Similarly, Poland explained that free and fair elections could mark the end of the volatile transition process for Libya.
- Latin America (Bolivia, Peru)
Bolivia highlighted the roles of regional actors, such as the League of Arab States and the African Union in strengthening the Libyan political process. In lieu of increasing tensions and clashes among armed groups, Bolivia also urged states to lay down arms and stop “bellicose rhetoric” that might imperil the success so far. Bolivia also cited international humanitarian law and the ICC investigations to protect migrant persons. Lastly, Bolivia reaffirmed that the political “dialogue” is the only solution to the Libyan situation.
Peru shared many of these positions Moving forward, Peru also urged the EU and AU to fight against the impunity of trafficking groups, and recommended the use of fiscal policies to combat corruption in the Libyan economy.
- Central Asia (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan called on the stakeholders and the UNSC to create an inclusive dialogue to promote the permanent stability of LIbya. Kazakhstan further insisted that the international community create more “favorable conditions” for political dialogue.
- Middle East (Kuwait)
Kuwait addressed the political development of Libya, recommending adequate preparations for the general congress and for mechanisms to form a new executive authority. For the security challenges that Libya faces, Kuwait n recommended for the establishment of the rule of law and the unification of military forces under civilian leadership. Lastly, Kuwait noted the increased optimism of Libyan economy, due to the continued production of oil.
- African States (Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia)
Cote d’Ivoire emphasized that a resolution to the crisis in Libya is “important for Africa as a whole.” Cote d’Ivoire remarked about the progress made on local elections and the possibility for the ICC to expand investigations into migrant-related crimes. Ethiopia similarly addressed this issue by stating the need for a unified UNSC to address the “unacceptable” actions in Libya associated with human trafficking. To this end, Equatorial Guinea also focused on the need for the UN to hold Libyans, who have violated IHL, accountable. EG also noted the “spillover effect” that negative political and military actions have negative consequences for economic and social aspects of Libya.
- Statement from Libya
Libya welcomed the international community to work alongside Libyans to create a modern and democratic state, free from meddling. Libya supported the UN plan of action and discussed the need for a unified approach instead of a fragmented effort. Libya concluded in expressing its hope in becoming a state “that can take on its own security and resolve crises related to weapons proliferation and organized crime.”