Members Should Have Awaited Clear Consent from Parties, Russian Federation’s Representative Says, Citing Rush to Adoption
The Security Council endorsed the conclusions of the 19 January Berlin Conference on Libya today, emphasizing the vital importance of progress towards a political solution to end the conflict in that country.
Adopting resolution 2510 (2020) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Russian Federation), the Council requested that the Secretary-General quickly advance the tasks ascribed to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in the operationalization paper (document S/2020/63) and make recommendations on the options therein. Similarly, it requested that he submit an interim report on the conditions for and proposals on ceasefire monitoring — including reporting and dispute-resolution mechanisms — with a view to making recommendations when the Libyan parties agree to a ceasefire.
By other terms of the text, the Council called for meetings of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission to continue, with full participation and without further delay, in order to agree on a permanent ceasefire, including the terms of reference for a monitoring and verification mechanism, a separation of forces, confidence-building measures and the establishment of associated working groups supported by the United Nations.
Demanding that the parties commit to a lasting ceasefire, in accordance with terms agreed by the Joint Military Commission, the Council also demanded full compliance with the Berlin commitments to abide by the arms embargo imposed under resolution 1970 (2011). Similarly, it recalled that individuals or entities engaging in or providing support for actions threatening peace in Libya may be designated for the travel-ban and asset-freeze measures specified in that resolution.
Juergen Schulz (Germany) welcomed the Council’s endorsement of the Berlin conclusions, saying it sends a signal of unity before the 16 February meeting of the International Follow-Up Committee on Libya, which will coordinate efforts to uphold the outcome. With today’s resolution, the international community demonstrated its resolve to hold violators accountable, notably by denouncing foreign interference in the Libya conflict, he said.
Tarek Ladeb (Tunisia), speaking also for Niger, said today’s resolution will support conditions for a lasting ceasefire. Welcoming the consensus around the need to advance the political process, stop foreign interference and respect the arms embargo, he said Tunisia seeks to ensure that the resolution makes reference to Libya’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Emphasizing that there is no military solution to the conflict and reiterating the importance of a political solution, he said Tunisia also sought mention of the role played by neighbouring countries. He welcomed the African Union initiative to hold a reconciliation meeting for the parties and underscored the need for uninterrupted oil operations. He called upon all parties to respect the resolution and work to transform the current truce into a permanent ceasefire without delay. Tunisia looks forward to the upcoming political forum, which will continue the recently launched economic process to overcome Libya’s challenges, he said, stressing that intra-Libyan reconciliation is the solution.
Wu Haitao (China), while noting that his delegation voted in support of the resolution, pointed out that the text was not adopted unanimously, emphasizing that the views of all sides should be fully respected during consultations in order to yield the maximum positive effect. He went on to press the Secretariat to develop an actionable plan that leverages the positive role of the countries concerned, with the African Union and the League of Arab States working in synergy with the United Nations. The international community should remain vigilant against terrorism in and around Libya, he stressed.
Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) said today’s resolution is not merely to welcome the outcome of the Berlin Conference, but also to call for peace. It is about saving Libyan lives, thereby fulfilling a moral obligation to and a solemn duty of the Council, which is why Indonesia voted in favour of the text. Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are of utmost importance, he stressed.
Pham Hai Anh (Viet Nam) urged the Council to seize the momentum created by the Berlin Conference, emphasizing that his delegation supports the text although it is not perfect.
Gert Auväärt (Estonia) said he voted in favour to solidify the momentum created by the Berlin Conference, the core messages of which was to stress that foreign interference must stop. An immediate and lasting ceasefire must be achieved, and international efforts must be led by the United Nations, he said. “Let’s not fail the people of Libya.”
Vassily A. Nebenzia (Russian Federation) said he abstained because there was no clear consent from the Libyan parties to implement the resolution. Recalling that the Russian Federation participated in the Berlin Conference and the preparatory process, trying to support the practical steps laid out by Germany, he said that, alongside Turkey, his country called for a ceasefire regime during a meeting held in Moscow before the Berlin Conference, thereby demonstrating its serious interest in implementing the meeting’s decisions. However, the drafter of today’s resolution rushed to have the Council adopt it, he said, adding that if the aim is to welcome the Berlin outcome, that could have been done the day after the Conference. Emphasizing that the resolution prescribes something that does not exist, he said the Council should have waited until Libyan consultations produce results. There is a lack of clear consent expressed by the Libyan parties, he added, underlining only they can decide their own future. Although it is up to Libyans, not external players, to implement the resolution, it will not be implemented, which is why the Russian Federation could not support it, he said. In sum, the Council adopted two resolutions on Libya over two days and both lack consensus, he noted, expressing his delegation’s deep disappointment.
Cherith Norman-Chalet (United States) expressed disappointment that today’s vote did not win consensus and that foreign mercenaries, including from the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group, are making a solution more difficult to achieve by keeping Libyans from coming together. The resolution answers their call for the international community to stop using their country to wage conflict, foster respect for international humanitarian law, allow access to aid and support their quest for democratic governance. Advocating accountability on the part of States violating the arms embargo, despite their commitments in Berlin, she declared: “The resolution makes clear that now is the time for all Member States to comply.” She called for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces, noting it is unfortunate that some Council members send military equipment and personnel to Libya. She went on to express concern that the Government of National Accord and the LNA are both contemplating military action. Denouncing the LNA’s shutdown of oil facilities, she underlined that no party should use those resources as a political bargaining chip and that the facilities must be reopened.
Karen Pierce (United Kingdom) said today marks the first time she has heard three weeks described as a “rushed” time frame within which to endorse the conclusions of a conference. The resolution gives expression to agreements made in Berlin, including by the President of the Russian Federation, so that the United Nations can take action to uphold the arms embargo, help the parties and monitor the ceasefire, she said. Most importantly, the players have the Council’s good will. “We want to see a ceasefire, see the arms embargo upheld and see the United Nations help the parties at the front and centre of international efforts,” she said.
Taking the floor for a second time the Russian Federation’s representative said events will reveal who is right. Expressing serious doubts that the resolution in its current form will foster any settlement of the conflict, he emphasized that the United States is obsessed with finding a Russian trace in any situation. He went on to recall the blatant violations of a Security Council resolution in 2011, after which Libya was destroyed by well-known countries. Libyan statehood ceased, he said, adding: “We still can’t put it back together” as it has become a haven for terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters.
Taher M. T. Elsonni (Libya) agreed that the only solution to the conflict is a political one. While understanding the reservations expressed about various paragraphs, he described the resolution as a declaration on the “debacle” of military adventures and failure to usurp authority. A peaceful solution had been around the corner last April, but the era of imposing solutions by force is long gone, he stressed, welcoming the resolution’s commitment to Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Condemning the closure of oil facilities, he pointed out that the closure affects all Libyans. He went on to welcome the resolution’s mention of the African Union and the recent Addis Ababa conference on national reconciliation.
He went on to question the persistent truce violations, threats against civilian airports, preclusion of aircraft from landing — as experienced by the Envoy’s team — and the absence of results from the Joint Military Commission. Emphasizing that those legitimate questions must be answered, he said: “This resolution created hope for us.” He also demanded: “Will you be able this time to end violations and war crimes? Will you put an end to the flow of mercenaries?” Noting that five armed groups from Sudan’s western Darfur region have joined General Khalifa Haftar’s militia, he said the Sudan Liberation Movement is one of them, not to mention thousands of mercenaries.