Permanent Representative Tells of Efforts to Sabotage Accords, United Nations Efforts as Extremists’ Position Grows Stronger
Participants in the Libyan political dialogue had decided to announce publicly that the Libyan Political Agreement would be signed on 16 December, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in that country told the Security Council today.
Martin Kobler said that in the face of the continued inability of the House of Representatives and the General National Congress to move forward with the outcomes of the political dialogue, he had convened a new round of the dialogue. The two-day deliberations in Tunis, concluded today, had culminated in agreement on a number of issues. A political settlement should be based on the Libyan Political Agreement negotiated within the framework of the political dialogue and there would be no reopening of the Libyan Political Agreement.
“The time has come to make peace,” he asserted, assuring all Libyans that the door would always remain open for those who wished to join on the road to peace. “I appeal to the sense of patriotism and statesmanship of Libya’s leaders to give consideration to Libya’s higher national interests and the long-term welfare of the Libyan people,” he added. “Their support to the Libyan Political Agreement will be the first step on Libya’s road to peace, security and prosperity.”
Mr. Kobler, who is also the Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said there had been a unanimous call on all political and security actors to create an environment conducive to enabling the future Government of National Accord to assume its responsibilities in the Libyan capital without threat or intimidation. He called upon the leadership of the General National Congress to allow him and his colleagues to land in Tripoli and elsewhere so that they could interact freely with whomsoever they deemed necessary. Noting that participants in the dialogue had highlighted the urgency of the time factor, he emphasized: “Libya is in a race against time; its very social fabric, national unity and territorial integrity are directly endangered by the forces of extremism and terrorism […].”
He said that since assuming his duties three weeks ago, he had consulted with countries in the region and beyond, and they had all expressed growing alarm at the prospect of a spillover of the terrorist threat from Libya into neighbouring countries. The President of Tunisia had expressed his deep concern regarding the risk of Da’esh rapidly consolidating its influence within Libya and the danger it posed to Tunisia and the wider region.
The military conflict in Libya, particularly in Benghazi, continued to exact a heavy toll on the civilian population, he continued, pointing out that some 2.4 million people were in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. There were an estimated 435,000 internally displaced people, in addition to several hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants. In the south, criminality and lawlessness had reached endemic levels, even as extremist and terrorist groups continued to expand their spheres of influence, he said.
Noting that falling oil revenues and depleting financial reserves were accelerating Libya’s economic decline, he said the plight of the civilian population had featured prominently in the deliberations. Civilians, including children, had borne the brunt of gross human rights violations and remained the victims of arbitrary killings, violent attacks and exploitation. Much of Benghazi was a wasteland, with infrastructure in ruins. Hundreds of thousands had been forced to flee, he said.
He said the forthcoming High-Level Conference to be hosted in Rome by Italy and the United States would provide an opportunity for the international community to speak with a strong and united voice in support of the Libyan Political Agreement. Every effort must be made to ensure that technical support to the future Government of National Accord was visible, tangible and sustainable. Warning that the threat of Da’esh could not be overstated, he declared: “Mobilizing international support to assist Libyan authorities to combat, contain and eliminate that imminent danger is a must.”
Ramlan Bin Ibrahim (Malaysia), briefed the Council in his role as Chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, summarizing the main points of an interim report from the Panel of Experts established under resolution 2213 (2015). The report elaborated on the security and humanitarian situation, including the expansion of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh), he said, adding that it had been discussed in a meeting of the Committee on 21 September. At the time, concerns had emerged about ongoing armed clashes, the presence of terrorist groups in Libya, arms flows in and out of the country, the financing of armed groups and illicit exports of crude oil. Mr. Ibrahim also briefed on the Committee’s other activities during the reporting period of 15 July to 10 December.
Libya’s representative, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said there had been a rapprochement of factions, leading to an agreement signed in July with broad popular support. That agreement had been approved by a majority of the House of Representatives and the General National Congress, and was to be submitted to a vote by the two parties. However, negotiation had not led to consensus due to stubbornness and threats, he said, noting that individuals were attempting to push citizens to fight United Nations efforts, and to sabotage the agreements. Warning that the position of Da’esh was being strengthened, he expressed hope that the signing of the Agreement would indeed take place on 16 December, and that the Council would support its implementation and act as guarantor.
Stressing that no Libyan Government could be effective if armed troops remained in Tripoli, he said that some 10,000 police officers could provide security in the capital if they were provided with small arms and other support. Terrorism in Libya no longer stemmed from extremism, but was now a lucrative job, attracting criminals and unemployed people from within the country and abroad who joined extremist cells in exchange for food and housing. Experts believed that Da’esh could seize the oil fields by mid-2016 if there was no agreement on oil-revenue sharing, he warned. Delay in establishing a Government of National Accord could not be a pretext for the international community to support a Libyan army without sufficient resources and weapons under civilian oversight. The army could not combat terrorism without it, he added.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:35 p.m.