The Security Council reauthorized Member States today — acting nationally or through regional organizations — to inspect vessels on the high seas off Libya’s coast believed to be in violation of the arms embargo imposed on that country.
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2357 (2017), extending for one year authorizations set out in resolution 2292 (2016), including one empowering Member States to seize and dispose of arms and ammunition found during the inspection of such vessels.
Following that action, the representatives of China, France and Italy emphasized the importance of working together to prevent the spread of terrorism and weapons trafficking. The United Kingdom’s representative, who tabled the text, said the adoption demonstrated the international community’s commitment to Libya. He commended the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean, known as Operation SOPHIA, for its efforts to combat arms smuggling.
Other delegates raised concerns, with the Russian Federation’s representative underlining that the crisis in Libya was a serious source of instability for neighbouring States. International and regional efforts must be based on the priority task of uniting the country and Government, including in the military sphere. Libyans must feel that their international partners were not interested in creating new divisive lines, he said, expressing hope that the United Nations would succeed in unifying Libya, including in the struggle against terrorism. “They must act according to the rules of the game,” he said, emphasizing his country’s long-standing relationship with Libya and its commitment to ongoing efforts.
Egypt’s representative pressed the Council to exclude Libya’s armed forces from the embargo in order to enable the country to protect itself. The resolution addressed only one of Libya’s many challenges, he pointed out, emphasizing the need for attention to the fact that certain States were funding terrorist groups in the country, and for greater efforts to track and locate illegal weapons caches.
Raising another concern, Sweden’s representative stressed that more civilians had been killed or injured in May than in any other month of the year. The resolution would send a strong message that the Council was committed to peace and stability in Libya, he added.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 10:26 a.m.
PETER WILSON (United Kingdom), noting that his country had tabled the text, said the adoption demonstrated the international community’s commitment to Libya. On the issue of illegal arms smuggling, he commended the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean, known as Operation SOPHIA.
VICENZO AMENDOLA, Under-Secretary of State for International and Foreign Affairs of Italy, said the Council had sent a strong message of unity in its adoption of the resolution regarding the fight against terrorism and arms trafficking, scourges that were contributing to instability in Libya. Italy supported the political process in Libya with a view to bolstering national reconciliation. Efforts to ensure security in the Mediterranean region were essential, he said, expressing support for the work of Operation SOPHIA related to arms and fuel smuggling.
VLADIMIR SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation) said the Libyan crisis was a serious source of instability to neighbouring States, stressing that international and regional efforts must be forged based on an understanding for the priority task of uniting the country and the institution of Government, including in the military field. Libyans must feel that their international partners were not interested in creating new divisive lines, he said, expressing hope that United Nations efforts would succeed in unifying Libya, including in combating terrorism. “They must act according to the rules of the game,” he said, emphasizing the Russian Federation’s longstanding relationship with Libya and its commitment to ongoing efforts.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said the Council must exclude Libya’s armed forces from the embargo to enable the country to protect itself. Pointing out that the resolution addressed only one of Libya’s many challenges, he emphasized that further attention must be drawn to the fact that certain States were funding terrorist groups in the country and that more efforts were needed to track and locate illegal weapons caches.
IRINA SCHOULGIN-NYONI (Sweden) said the continued proliferation and smuggling of weapons to and from Libya remained a serious threat to peace and security, escalating an already volatile situation on the ground. Such activities were also fuelling terrorism and contributing to the destabilization of Libya and the wider region. Breaches of the weapons embargo and the military escalation were directly impacting civilians. More civilians had been killed or injured in May than any other month in 2017, she said, noting that today’s resolution would send a strong message about the Council’s commitment to peace and stability in Libya.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said the arms embargo must be upheld by all States. Operation SOPHIA had provided a better understanding of arms flows, in addition to playing a major deterrent role, he said, adding that weapons going into and out of Libya remained a security threat, particularly in the context of fighting terrorism at the international level.
SHEN BO (China) said resolutions 2357 (2017) and 2292 (2016) should be comprehensively and accurately implemented in a way that should not affect the jurisdiction of flag States on relevant ships.
The full text of resolution 2357 (2017) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolution 1970 (2011) imposing the arms embargo on Libya and all its subsequent relevant resolutions,
“Recalling its resolution 2292 (2016) concerning the strict implementation of the 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. Decides to extend the authorizations as set out in resolution 2292 (2016) for a further 12 months from the date of this resolution;
“2. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council within 11 months of the adoption of this resolution on its implementation;
“3. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”