14 June 2016
7715th Meeting (PM)

Security Council Authorizes Inspection of Suspected Embargo-Breaking Vessels off Libya’s Coast, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2292 (2016)

Russian Federation Says Hidden Agenda behind Text Seeks to Manage Arms Flow

In an effort to implement the arms embargo imposed on Libya, the Security Council today authorized Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya believed to be in violation of the embargo.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2292 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-member Council condemned the flow of arms and related materiel into Libya, including to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and other terrorist groups in the country.  It urged Member States to combat, by all means, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

Also by the text, the Council authorized Member States to use all measures to carry out such inspections, without undue delay or interference with the exercise of free navigation, and to seize and dispose of such items without harming the marine environment or the safety of navigation.  By further terms, States carrying out inspections would promptly submit an initial written report to the 1970 Committee established to oversee the sanctions against Libya, explaining the grounds for and results of inspection and describing efforts to seek consent from the vessel’s flag State.  A subsequent report would provide details not provided in the initial one.

By other terms of the text, the Council requested that the Secretary-General provide, in 30 days, on the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters recruited by or joining ISIL, Al-Qaida and associated groups, to Libya and neighbouring countries, including off the coast.

Following the adoption, Matthew Rycroft (United Kingdom) said that, sadly, Sunday’s terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, in the United States, made it clearer than ever that terrorism threatened everyone.  It was imperative to fight such threats as a united Council, he emphasized, adding that, although the adoption of resolution 2292 (2016) was a sign of support for Libya’s Government of National Accord, that progress still faced challenges.  Noting that the arms embargo had not stopped the flow of weapons or terrorists, he said the region was in chaos, and adopting today’s resolution had been a sensible, proportionate and necessary step.  As Da’esh continued to explore Libya, criminal gangs persisted in exploiting vulnerable people attempting to flee to safer ground.  The United Kingdom fully supported efforts by Operation Sophia — the European Union’s anti‑migrant-smuggling initiative in the Mediterranean Sea — to bolster Libya’s coast guard, he said, adding that the resolution would ultimately help to tackle the migration crisis.

Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt) said his delegation fully supported the Presidency Council of Libya’s Government of National Accord and its efforts to restore stability to a fellow Arab State.  Enforcement of the arms embargo was essential to eradicate the terrorist threat in Libya.  Egypt would cooperate closely with partners in the Council to enhance the international anti-terror system and make it more comprehensive, he said, calling once again on the international community, particularly the Council, to support the counter‑terrorism efforts of the Libyan National Army and other national security institutions.  He also warned about the extreme danger of relying on any element in Libya with ties to extremism or terrorism when establishing national armed forces or providing security for the Government of National Accord.

Vladimir Safronkov (Russian Federation) expressed disappointment with the approach of “some colleagues” during negotiations on the text, saying that they issued ultimatums to ensure the broadening of Operation Sophia at any cost while advancing unilateral approaches.  That was a dangerous trend, he said, warning that the undermining consequences of actions by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the region were being ignored.  Noting that violations of Council resolution 1973 (2011) by NATO in 2011 were still being disentangled, he expressed hope that approaches to securing the agreement of flag States on inspection of vessels of Libya’s coasts would be guided by international maritime law.

The Russian Federation would welcome the establishment of viable united security forces with a central chain of command, he said, while pointing out that such forces did not exist in Libya, and that the text made no mention of establishing them.  Without a loyal army and police, Libyans would not be able to address the challenges ahead, he emphasized.  There was a hidden agenda behind the text, he said, adding that somebody was seeking carte blanche to manage the flow of weapons to Libya as he or she saw fit.  The presence of foreign military forces in the country was evidence of that, yet the resolution’s co-sponsors were “not being very honest” about the presence of ISIL and other armed groups.  “We need to find our position here,” he said, asking:  “Are we going to work together or not?”

Liu Jieyi (China) voiced hope for the comprehensive and universal implementation of the text just adopted, and that the sovereignty of States would be respected.  Measures to implement the resolution should not violate the jurisdiction of flag States, he stressed, adding that he hoped the warring Libyan parties would resolve their differences through negotiations.

Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine) said that despite the arms embargo, the threat posed by the proliferation of arms was growing.  Regrettably terrorist groups like Da’esh and Al-Qaida, as well as foreign terrorist fighters still gained access to weapons in violation of the embargo, thereby undermining peace and security in the region.  Trafficking in arms must be stopped, he emphasized, welcoming the European Union’s decision to extend the mandate of Operation Sophia by one year.

Román Oyarzun Marchesi (Spain) also expressed concern about the growing threat of arms proliferation, saying his country had actively participated in Operation Sophia.  Within its own scope, Spain had trained coast guard officials, he said, adding that it intended to follow closely the political situation in Libya and to support the country.

Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño (Venezuela) said that terrorist groups in Libya posed peace and security challenges to the Middle East.  Effective measures were needed to end arms proliferation and smuggling, and national authorities must be involved in that effort.  Warning against double standards, he acknowledged the challenges that the Libyan authorities faced and emphasized the urgent need for security sector reform and reintegration of combatants into society.

François Dellatre (France), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, expressing solidarity with the United States in the wake of the Florida terrorist attack, and saying that the adoption of resolution 2292 (2016) addressed an urgent security need.  Violations of the arms embargo fuelled instability in Libya and the Council’s expeditious adoption of the text provided an action framework for addressing them.  The international community must act to stem the flow of weapons by land and air, he stressed, while welcoming the expansion of Operation Sophia.

The meeting began at 3:40 p.m. and ended at 4:15 p.m.


The full text of resolution 2292 (2016) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling the arms embargo on Libya which was imposed, modified and reaffirmed by resolutions 1970 (2011), 1973 (2011), 2009 (2011), 2040 (2012), 2095 (2013), 2144 (2014), 2174 (2014), 2213 (2015), 2214 (2015) and 2278 (2016),

Recalling resolution 2259 (2015) which welcomed the signing of the 17 December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement of Skhirat, Morocco and endorsed the Rome communiqué of 13 December 2015 to support the Government of National Accord (‘GNA’) as the sole legitimate Government of Libya, that should be based in Tripoli, reiterating its support for the full implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement, and further expressing its determination in this regard to support the GNA,

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya,

Reiterating its grave concern at the growing threat of terrorist groups in Libya proclaiming allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), the growing trend of groups associating themselves with it, as well as the continued presence of other Al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups and individuals operating there, and recalling, in this regard, the obligations under resolution 2253 (2015),

Recalling its resolution 2178 (2014), in particular paragraph 5 of that resolution, and expressing concern that the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Libya can increase the intensity, duration and complexity of the conflict and pose a serious threat to their States of origin, transit, and travel,

Expressing deep concern at the threat posed by unsecured arms and ammunition in Libya and their proliferation, which undermines stability in Libya and the region, including through their transfer to armed groups in violation of the arms embargo, and underlining the importance of coordinated international support to Libya and the region to address these issues,

Expressing concern that the situation in Libya is exacerbated by the smuggling of illegal arms and related materiel in violation of the arms embargo, underlining its concern at the allegations of violations of the arms embargo by sea, land or air, and expressing further concern that such arms and related materiel are being used by terrorist groups operating in Libya, including by ISIL,

Welcoming the Vienna communiqué of 16 May 2016 which recognizes the necessity of enhanced coordination efforts between the legitimate Libyan military and security forces, urges them to work quickly to implement a unified command in accordance with the Libyan Political Agreement to coordinate in the fight against Da’esh and UN-designated terrorist groups in Libyan territory, and underlines that the GNA has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) (‘the Committee’) to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat Da’esh throughout Libya,

Recalling that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the ocean,

Reiterating its request in resolution 2278 (2016) to the GNA to appoint a focal point to brief the Committee at its request and provide information relevant to the Committee’s work on the structure of the security forces under its control, consolidated procurement procedures, the infrastructure in place to ensure the safe storage, registration, maintenance and distribution of military equipment by the Government security forces, and training needs, and emphasizes the importance of the GNA exercising control over and safely storing arms, with the support of the international community,

Affirming that the GNA may submit exemption requests under paragraph 8 of resolution 2174 (2014) for the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materiel, including related ammunition and spare parts, for use by the national security forces under its control to, inter alia, combat ISIL (also known as Da’esh), groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL, Ansar al Sharia, and other groups associated with Al-Qaida operating in Libya, and calls upon the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) to consider expeditiously such requests in accordance with its rules and procedures,

Affirming that, pursuant to paragraph 10 of resolution 2095 (2013), the supplies of non-lethal military equipment and the provision of any technical assistance, training or financial assistance, when intended solely for security or disarmament assistance to the GNA and the national security forces under its control, shall be exempt from prior notification to and approval by the Committee,

Taking note of the final report of the Panel of Experts (document S/2016/209) established by paragraph 24 of resolution 1973 (2011) and modified by resolution 2040 (2012) submitted pursuant to paragraph 24 (d) of resolution 2213 (2015), and the findings and recommendations contained therein, in particular the Panel’s report of regular violations of the arms embargo despite reinforcement of the measures,

Taking note of the decision of the Council of the European Union on 23 May 2016 to extend the mandate of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia by one year and to add further supporting tasks to its mandate, including the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya,

Mindful of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming its determination that terrorism, in all forms and manifestations, constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1.   Condemns the flows of arms and related materiel transferred to or from Libya in violation of the arms embargo, including to ISIL and other terrorist groups in Libya;

“2.   Urges Member States to combat by all means, in accordance with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts;

“3.   Decides, with a view to addressing the threat posed by unsecured arms and ammunitions in Libya and their proliferation, to authorize, in these exceptional and specific circumstances for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, with appropriate consultations with the GNA, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo on Libya, to inspect, without undue delay, on the high seas off the coast of Libya, vessels bound to or from Libya which they have reasonable grounds to believe are carrying arms or related materiel to or from Libya, directly or indirectly, in violation of paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), as modified by paragraph 13 of resolution 2009 (2011), paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 2095 (2013) and paragraph 8 of resolution 2174 (2014), provided that those Member States make good-faith efforts to first obtain  the consent of the vessel’s flag State prior to any inspections pursuant to this paragraph, and calls upon all flag States of above-mentioned vessels to cooperate with such inspections;

“4.   Authorizes Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, conducting inspections pursuant to paragraph 3, to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections, in full compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, and urges Member States conducting such inspections to do so without causing undue delay to or undue interference with the exercise of freedom of navigation;

“5.   Authorizes all Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to, and decides that all such Member States shall, upon discovery of items prohibited by paragraph 9 or 10 of resolution 1970, as modified by paragraph 13 of resolution 2009 (2011), paragraphs 9 and  10 of resolution 2095 (2013), and paragraph 8 of resolution 2174 (2014), seize and dispose (such as through destruction, rendering inoperable, storage or transferring to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal) of such items, further reaffirms its decision that all Member States shall cooperate in such efforts, authorizes Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to collect evidence directly related to the carriage of such items in the course of such inspections, and urges Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to avoid causing harm to the marine environment or to the safety of navigation;

“6.   Affirms that the authorizations provided by paragraph 3, 4 and 5 of this resolution apply only with respect to inspections carried out by warships and ships owned or operated and duly authorized by a State and used only on Government non-commercial service, and which are clearly marked and identifiable as such;

“7.   Underscores that these authorizations do not apply with respect to vessels entitled to sovereign immunity under international law;

“8.   Affirms that the authorisation provided for in paragraph 4 includes the authority to divert vessels and their crews to a suitable port to facilitate such disposal, with the consent of the port State, affirms further that the authorization in paragraph 4 includes the authority to use, all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances, in full compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, to seize items set out in paragraph 3 in the course of inspections;

“9.   Affirms that the authorizations provided in this resolution apply only with respect to the smuggling of illegal arms and related materiel on the high seas off the coast of Libya and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including any rights or obligations under UNCLOS, including the general principle of exclusive jurisdiction of a flag State over its vessels on the high seas, with respect to any other situation, underscores in particular that this resolution shall not be considered as establishing customary international law;

“10.  Decides that when any Member State, acting nationally or through regional organizations, undertakes an inspection pursuant to paragraph 3 of this resolution, it or the regional organization through which it is acting shall submit promptly an initial written report to the Committee containing, in particular, explanation of the grounds for the inspection, the efforts made to seek the consent of the vessel’s flag State, the results of such inspection, and whether or not cooperation was provided, and, if prohibited items for transfer are found, further requires such Member State or regional organization submit to the Committee, at a later stage, a subsequent written report containing relevant details on the inspection, seizure, and disposal, and relevant details of the transfer, including a description of the items, their origin and intended destination, if this information is not in the initial report; and requests the Committee to notify the flag State of the inspected vessel that an inspection has been undertaken, notes the prerogative of any Member State to write to the Committee concerning the implementation of any aspect of this resolution, and further encourages the Panel of Experts to share relevant information with Member States operating under the authorization set out in this resolution;

“11.  Encourages Member States and the GNA to share relevant information with the Committee, and with those Member States and regional organizations acting under the authorisations set out in this resolution;

“12.  Requests the Secretary-General to provide, with input from CTED, in close collaboration with the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, as well as the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1973, a report, in 30 days, on the threat posed to Libya and neighbouring countries, including off the coast of Libya, by Foreign Terrorist Fighters recruited by or joining the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (also known as Da’esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities;

“13.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

For information media. Not an official record.