United Nations Now Has Libyan Partners Responding to Changing Public Mood Focused on Issues Once Central to Demands of Revolution, Security Council Told

22 December 2011

United Nations Now Has Libyan Partners Responding to Changing Public Mood Focused on Issues Once Central to Demands of Revolution, Security Council Told

22 December 2011
Security Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6698th Meeting (AM)

United Nations Now Has Libyan Partners Responding to Changing Public Mood Focused

on Issues Once Central to Demands of Revolution, Security Council Told


Head of UN Mission Outlines Support for New Libyan Authorities Facing

Pressing Priorities in Service Delivery, Security Reform, Institution Building

United Nations support for the interim Libyan Government, four weeks after its formation, was intensifying as the authorities sought to respond to a gradually changing public mood increasingly focused on issues that were central to the demands of the revolution, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council this morning.

“The quickened pace of activities reflects that a Government is in office and the United Nations now has Libyan interlocutors to whom it is offering its support,” Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya told the 15-member body in a briefing via teleconference from Tripoli, following which João Maria Cabral of Portugal updated the activities of the Libya sanctions committee, which he chairs.

Mr. Martin said that the new authorities faced the dual challenges of meeting immediate needs of the people, amid high expectations, and building accountable institutions, in a security climate that remained uncertain until decisions were taken regarding the future of the revolutionary fighters.  He noted that there were only six months before scheduled elections to a National Congress, which would be the basis of constitution-making and begin the formation of another government.

He said that the agreement of the sanctions committee to de-list Libyan banks had been warmly welcomed by the Government and efforts were ongoing to overcome other blockages to financial liquidity.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), he said, had been working actively on support for elections, with only a month remaining for electoral legislation to be passed and an electoral committee established.  In that context, the UNSMIL electoral team had provided technical advice and guidance on best practices, and conducted an assessment of existing civil registers and their suitability for use in the upcoming polls.  The Government’s electoral team, he noted, had pledged that representation of women and minorities would be a consideration in all arrangements.  All international organizations stood ready to support civic education to encourage informed participation in the elections.

Building the security forces of a democratic State remained a great challenge, which included the need to integrate some revolutionary fighters and demobilize others, he said.  The Government had begun planning for some 75,000 former fighters, with the Ministry of Labour developing schemes to facilitate return to civilian life.  The United Nations had already deployed an early scoping mission to explore possible support to such reintegration plans.  The urgency of such efforts was underlined by recent armed clashes of varying seriousness among revolutionary formations, some of which was sparked by historical conflicts between communities.

To coordinate support for the rehabilitation of the Libyan police force, along with strengthening border security, UNSMIL had agreed with the Ministry of Interior to develop a detailed plan by mid-January 2012 that would identify assistance needs, he said.  Border management needs had been identified in the area of drug and weapons trafficking and illegal immigration.  In that context, he welcomed the creation of a national agency for the security of borders and strategic installations under the Ministry of Defence, with training for border control officers — using ex-fighters — being done under the Ministry of Interior.

UNSMIL, he said, had also continued to assist the Government in countering proliferation of looted arms, most of which now seemed to be held by revolutionary brigades or local militias and had not yet shown up in quantity in neighbouring countries.  It had been agreed by all partners to establish an operational task force on identifying, collecting and disabling man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).  The United Nations Mine-Action Service (UNMAS) was also working with authorities on a registration scheme for weapons held by the revolutionary brigades, coordinated with a United States technical assistance programme.

Reporting on progress in accounting for chemical materials, he said that UNSMIL was supporting the efforts of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), through logistics, security and coordination arrangements.  He said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had concluded that no nuclear materials had gone missing, but storage conditions were inadequate for the long run in terms of both security and health-risk factors.  With 26 mine-clearance teams and 28 educational groups on the ground, international funding in that area was urgently needed until Libyan funds became available, he said.

Noting assurances given to him that detainees were being transferred from the control of revolutionary brigades to the judicial police, he said that UNSMIL was pressing for improved conditions of detention and a proper and swift review of all cases, leading to fair trials.  The United Nations had provided advice on a draft law on transitional justice.  It had been submitted to the National Transitional Council (NTC), which had organized a national reconciliation conference on 10 December. Local-level reconciliation efforts included assistance for some 35,000 Tawerghans, who remained displaced after allegations of involvement of abuses during the conflict.

While humanitarian operations would come to a close at the end of the year, he said the United Nations would continue to support national authorities to assist those Libyans who remained internally displaced — some 63,000 were registered as in need of assistance.  Returnees to Bani Walid and Sirte continued to receive humanitarian assistance as well.

Regarding coordination of multilateral and bilateral assistance, assessments were being conducted, but more might be needed once an elected Government mapped out plans for a longer time frame, he said.  Meanwhile the mission-planning process had begun in Libya and would be joined by a small team of Headquarters colleagues in mid-January, to make recommendations on an UNSMIL mandate beyond its current term.  Agreement had been reached on the Status of Mission Agreement for the Mission, which would be signed in the coming days.

Three months after initial deployment, UNSMIL now had just over 100 staff, nearly half of them nationals, he said.  Within those “limited numbers”, the Mission was working in accordance with the principles outlined by the Council:  respect for national ownership, speed of response, and effective coordination of international efforts.  He expected the pace of activities to further accelerate with the new year.

Following that briefing, Mr. Cabral elaborated on the de-listing on 16 December of the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Foreign Bank, at the request of the Libyan authorities.  The Council-imposed asset freeze no longer applied to those entities, and the Committee would continue to work towards ensuring that assets being held pursuant to resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) were made available to and for the benefit of the Libyan people as soon as possible.

He highlighted the Council’s 31 October adoption of resolution 2017 (2011), by which it had requested the Committee to assess the threats, particularly those related to terrorism, posed by the proliferation in the region of arms and related materiel of all types, especially MANPADS from Libya, and to report on ways to counter those threats and prevent the spread of those and other weapons.  In the exercise, the Committee would be assisted by the Panel of Experts and would cooperate with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and other relevant United Nations bodies.  On 2 December, the Council had adopted resolution 2022 (2011), expanding the UNSMIL mandate to include assisting Libyan national efforts to address the proliferation of all arms and related materiel, taking into account the Committee’s report.

It had been in the context of implementing that most recent text that the Committee had met informally on 12 December, where it had heard briefings by the Panel of Experts and representatives of CTED, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and UNSMIL, and had agreed that a working document on implementation of resolution 2017 (2011) would be consolidated by the Panel in February 2012.  That document would form the basis of a report the Committee would submit shortly thereafter to the Council.  He explained that the main reason the informal consultations had been held was to hear the experts’ latest progress report.  They had highlighted missions taken by the Panel to Libya and other countries in the region; the Panel had sought the Committee’s assistance on possible subsequent missions.  The Panel had also conveyed some preliminary findings from its monitoring of the arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze.

Turning more specifically to the work of the Committee, he said that, during the reporting period, the body had approved four requests for an exception to measures under paragraphs 9(a) (on supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use, and related technical assistance or training), and 9(c) (on other sales or supply of arms and related materiel, or provision of assistance or personnel) of resolution 1970 (2011).  Further, the Committee had no negative decision to a fifth request for an exception under paragraph 9(c) of that text.  Also, the Committee took no negative decision in relation to six notifications under paragraph 13(a) of resolution 2009 (2011) (on arms and related materiel of all types, including technical assistance, training, financial and other assistance, intended solely for security or disarmament assistance to the Libyan authorities).

With respect to the asset freeze, he said that, prior to the de-listing of the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Foreign Bank, the Committee had approved six other requests for similar exceptions to the assets freeze under the “extraordinary expenses provisions” set out in paragraph 19(b) of resolution 1970 (2011).  It had also acknowledged the receipt of six notifications under the prior contracts provision set on in paragraph 21 of the resolution.  No negative decision had been taken regarding 11 notifications under the basic expenses provision set out in 19(a) of resolution 1970 (2011), or 12 notifications under paragraph 16(a) of resolution 2009 (2011).  All told, he said, those requests and notifications amounted to at least $18 billion.

Finally, he told the Council that during the reporting period, in written replies submitted by two Member States, the Committee had confirmed that, with the adoption of resolution 2009 (2011), the asset freeze no longer applied to the subsidiaries of United Nations-listed entities.  The Committee would continue to provide guidance on the scope and application of the relevant measures to any Member State who so requested it, to ensure clear and consistent understanding by all.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 10:35 a.m., at which time Council members were invited into consultations on Libya, as previously agreed.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.