3 October 2019
8631st Meeting (PM)

Authorizing States to Inspect Vessels Suspected of Trafficking People off Libya Coast, Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 2491 (2019)

Responding to Delegates’ Concerns, Germany’s Representative Says Suspension of Naval Rescue Operation ‘Is Temporary’

Condemning all acts of migrant smuggling and human trafficking off the coast of Libya, the Security Council today renewed for a further year its authorization for Member States to inspect vessels in the area, when there are reasonable grounds to believe they are participating in the illicit activities.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2491 (2019) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council extended authorizations set out in resolution 2357 (2017) and expressed its intention to review the situation with a view to further renewals.

In addition, it requested the Secretary‑General to report to the Council 6 months after the adoption of the resolution, in addition to reporting 11 months following renewal [as had been requested in previous resolutions on the matter].

Following the adoption, several Council members welcomed the action, expressing deep concern over the plight of migrants and calling for support to efforts to end the turmoil in Libya.

In that vein, Jonathan Guy Allen (United Kingdom) added that his country remains steadfast in its support of United Nations leadership on the peace process for Libya.

Abdulaziz A. M. A. Alajmi (Kuwait) also confirmed support to all efforts by the United Nations to respond to challenges raised by trafficking in persons on both sides of the Mediterranean.  Calling on all Member States to aid efforts that provide safer refuges for those people, he avowed respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya.

Anatolio Ndong Mba (Equatorial Guinea) called for better monitoring of the situation of migrants and the redeployment of naval assets in that regard as soon as possible.  He also stressed that the African Union must be involved in the peace process in Libya in a way that helps stem the suffering of the migrants.

Vladimir K. Safronkov (Russian Federation) voiced concern that the naval assets of Operation Sophia have been suspended and called for its resumption and consideration of the whole monitoring regime.  He also noted his concern about dealing with the root cause of illegal smuggling and migration resulting from foreign intervention in the country.  Assistance for development and restoration of rule of law is critical in Libya and other countries affected so that migrants and other displaced persons will want to return to their homes, he stressed.

Gbolié Désiré Wulfran Ipo (Côte d’Ivoire) thanked Council members for the spirit of compromise that resulted in the adoption and welcomed a decrease in human smuggling over the past year.  However, he expressed concern over the suspension of naval support of Operation Sophia, commenting that cooperative efforts must be ramped up to resolve the crisis in Libya, with the participation of the African Union.

Yao Shaojun (China) expressed hope that the resolution will be implemented in a comprehensive manner, expecting the Secretary‑General’s report to cover all relevant matters in that regard.  He called for the international community to further support economic development to find a lasting solution to illegal migration.

Juergen Schulz (Germany) said it is crucial for the international community to speak with one voice on peace in Libya and to comprehensively maintain the arms embargo and combat against illegal people trafficking.  He stressed that the suspension of naval assets is temporary, and that the anti‑smuggling operation will remain effective for the benefit of all involved.

Antoine Ignace Michon (France), emphasizing that the resolution would assist in the fight against international crime, pledged his country’s continued support for the operations fighting human trafficking and supporting the arms embargo.

The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 3:22 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.