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SC/14651
30 September 2021
8870th Meeting (PM)

Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2599 (2021)

The Security Council today extended until 31 January 2022 the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) as an integrated special political mission, following the previously agreed 15‑day technical rollover.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2599 (2021)(to be issued as document S/RES/2599(2021)), the Council said that the Mission will carry out its mandate as set out in resolution 2542 (2020) and paragraph 16 of resolution 2570 (2021).

Speaking after the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom stressed that Libya is at a critical point and called on the Council to support its people as they look towards the national elections taking place soon.  The full implementation of the ceasefire agreement must include the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries, she stressed, welcoming the Independent Strategic Review of UNSMIL (document S/2021/716).  As the lead on the current resolution, “we worked hard to find a text that all Council members could support,” she said, noting the intensive engagements of the past two weeks to find consensus.  Voicing regret at the inability to secure the support of all members for a compromise text, she called on them to engage constructively on a substantive renewal of the mandate ahead of the 31 January deadline.

The representative of France stressed the important role of the Mission in Libya’s political transition process, including the parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in December as well as the ceasefire agreement.  Also emphasizing the need for withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries, he said the Council must restructure the Mission in order to strengthen its effectiveness.  Highlighting the need for unity in the Council, he noted that his country will organize an international conference on Libya, to be held in November in Paris, as a demonstration of support for the political process under way in that country.  He also called on the international community to consider the regional implications of the Libyan crisis.

The representative of the United States described today’s outcome as “unfortunate” for both Libyans and the Security Council, expressing regret that the 15‑member organ failed to implement the strategic review’s recommendations.  It was necessary to implement the recommendations “now, not months down the road”, he insisted, stressing that the leadership structure proposed in the review — deploying the Head of Mission to Tripoli — was essential, as the placement of a Special Envoy in Geneva was a hindrance to the Mission’s effective engagement on the ground.  This failure undermines efforts to stabilize Libya.  Today’s outcome, however, will not deter the United States from supporting the preparations towards the 24 December elections.  Calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces without delays, he urged all Council members to forge the best approach and break the stalemate over the coming months.

The representative of Tunisia said his delegation had hoped that the Council would reach consensus on the substantial renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate at this crucial moment of Libyan transition.  The basis for consensus exists, he said, encouraging all Council members to support it, so that they can help the Mission discharge its mandate.

The representative of Kenya, stressing that “we all want UNSMIL to succeed”, voiced regret about the Council’s failure to reach a common understanding regarding an approach to facilitate that.  The technical rollover of the resolution represents a missed opportunity for the inclusion of important elements regarding support for Libya’s national reconciliation efforts and issues of interest to the neighbouring States, he said.  Noting that protracted and intensive negotiations did not yield a compromise text, he cautioned the Council about the message it is sending to Libyans and the world.  “We must listen to Libya,” he emphasized, calling on the Council to “walk the talk of inclusion” and place Africans in the leadership of peace processes in Africa.

The representative of China said Libya is on the path of national reconstruction, adding that the Mission must play a constructive role in helping the country’s people implement the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum road map and achieving a political settlement, in accordance with the principles of Libyan ownership and leadership.  Noting the critical stage at which the Libyan political process has arrived, he called on all parties to demonstrate political will and act in coordination with the road map to ensure the holding of elections as scheduled.  Voicing support for discussing a leadership adjustment at the Mission after the elections, he said that foreign troops and mercenaries should withdraw in a balanced manner.

The representative of the Russian Federation said there is no alternative to peaceful settlement of the conflict under the aegis of the United Nations.  He concurred with other speakers that Libya is at a momentous stage in the run‑up to the elections.  The conclusions and recommendations of the strategic review, including the proposal on the leadership structure, can be implemented after the elections, he said, applauding the Council for managing to forge consensus on today’s resolution.

(For related coverage, see Press Releases SC/14630 and SC/14635.)

The meeting began at 2:05 p.m. and ended at 2:27 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.