Libya was at a critical stage and the political agreement signed by several of its leaders last week had brought the country one step closer to ending its four-year conflict, the senior United Nations official there told the Security Council today, urging all parties to engage constructively in the dialogue process.
“This agreement sets out a comprehensive framework that will allow Libya to complete the transition started in 2011,” said Bernardino León, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
The accord, signed 11 July in Skhirat, Morocco, by some parties to the conflict — among them representatives of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives and officials from Tripoli and Misrata — provided the basis for further talks towards fulfilling the goals of the 2011 revolution, he said. Although the dialogue committee of the General National Congress decided not to initial the agreement, it remained committed to the dialogue process. “The door remains open for them to join,” Mr. León said, and acknowledged their important role in developing the text.
The signing of the agreement was only one, albeit important, step forward in the process of addressing political and institutional divisions in the country, he said. The accord included guiding principles and put in place institutions and decision-making mechanisms to guide the transition until adoption of a permanent Constitution.
The intention was to create a modern, democratic State based on the principle of inclusion, rule of law, separation of powers and respect for human rights, Mr. León said. Crucial work remained on the formation of a Government of National Accord and the annexes to the agreement, he said, stressing that the Council should urge all parties in Libya to continue to engage constructively during the crucial stage.
Mr. León said that, since his last briefing to the Council in March, the situation in Libya continued to deteriorate amid significant political fragmentation and violence, which had also given way to an expansion of extremist groups, he said. Human smugglers and many refugees, asylum seekers, had also exploited the vacuum of authority, and migrants were using the country as a launching area for an unprecedented surge in dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean.
For its part, UNSMIL had continued its efforts to convene the security track of the political dialogue, organizing a number of meetings with armed groups in Libya and abroad, and intensifying bilateral contacts with leaders of armed formations from all sides, he said. Violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law continued with impunity across the country, with the civilian population bearing the brunt of the protracted fighting.
The situation in Benghazi, birthplace of the revolution, remained of serious concern, he said. More than half the population had left to escape the violence, and ongoing fighting was impeding humanitarian operations there. The overall humanitarian situation was also worrisome, as the number of internally displaced in the country had doubled since last September and the humanitarian response remained underfunded.
A Government of National Accord could be the only interlocutor to tackle the growing threat of Da’esh and its affiliate groups, he said. The United Nations stood ready to work with the Libyans to ensure national ownership in that process.
Ramlan Bin Ibrahim, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations and Chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, said the body had updated its Sanctions List on 26 March, incorporating information provided by the Panel of Experts set up to monitor implementation of the sanctions. On 14 April, the Committee asked the Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations for an update on ports, oil fields and installations under the Libyan Government’s control. It was told that the National Oil Corporation had been the only body authorized to sell oil and gas.
Also in April, the Committee approved the slate of proposed candidates to serve on the Panel during the period mandated by resolution 2213 (2015). The following month, the Committee received an update from the Panel on an investigation regarding the freezing of assets of an individual not designated under the assets freeze measure. During informal consultations with the body in June on its work plan, the Committee also discussed the issue of sanctions designations. During the 5 March to 15 July reporting period, the Committee did not make any negative decisions in connection with an arms embargo notification under paragraph 13(b) of resolution 2009 (2011).
Following those briefings, Ibrahim O. A. Dabbashi, Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations, said his Government supported Mr. León’s and UNSMIL’s efforts to help the Libyan parties reach an agreement that would pave the way for a Government of National Accord, stem the bloodshed, achieve security for Libyan cities and revive hope in what the people had fought for during the 2011 revolution.
Regrettably, he said, the Sanctions Committee had indirectly fuelled the continuing instability, as well as entrenching terrorism in Libya by insisting on an “undeclared veto” on arming the Libyan Army in clear contravention of resolution 2213 (2015). The Government had alerted the Committee and provided the requested information, to no avail. That showed a “premeditated hampering” of the Government’s effort to combat terrorism and extend control over the entire national territory.
The 11 July political agreement was a major achievement that paved the way for a comprehensive, peaceful solution, he said, and most Libyans welcomed its full implementation. However, the accord was not the destination per se, but a road replete with obstacles that both Libya and the United Nations must overcome.
Some positive developments had taken place inside the country over the past few weeks, which made Libyans hopeful of the “victory of common sense”.
The fight against terrorism must comprise a clear strategy and policy, be built on a true awareness of the threat and mobilize all human and material resources in all Libyan cities, he said. The foot-dragging in the Council on arming the Libyan army had emboldened certain extremist groups to refuse to sign the 11 July agreement. The Government hoped the situation would change through effective practical steps by the international community.
The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and ended at 10:55 a.m.