Berlin, Germany

19 January 2020

Secretary-General's remarks at joint press encounter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following Libya Conference

I would like to express my deep gratitude to Chancellor Merkel and the German Government for convening this conference.

Dear Chancellor, your consistent, continuous and I would say enthusiastic commitment to support all the efforts to bring peace and stability to Libya are absolutely remarkable and as Secretary-General of the United Nations I want to express my very deep appreciation and gratitude.

Today in Berlin, Member States – along with regional and international organizations – have sent a strong signal that we are fully committed to supporting a peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis.

Allow me to briefly touch three points.

First, I cannot stress enough the Summit’s conclusion that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya. All participants have mentioned it several times during the meeting, even though they are not directly involved in the conflict itself.

Today, all participants committed to refrain from interference in the armed conflict or internal affairs of Libya. This is part of the conclusions and of course this must be adhered to, as well as the call to silence the guns with the termination of all military hostilities.

Second, we called on all actors to refrain from any activities exacerbating the conflict.

I urge all participants and the international community to abide by their commitment to unequivocally and fully respect and implement the UN Security Council arms embargo.

Third, the return to the political process is essential.

We urged all Libyan parties to engage in a Libyan-owned and Libyan-led dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations, paving the way for a political solution to the crisis.

I have to say that the three tracks that were defined – the economic track is fully moving, the first meeting of 22 economies took place in Tunis, the second meeting will take place in the next two or three weeks, and they started to look into the central aspects of the economic reform the country requires, namely, unification of the central bank, the questions related to the investment authority, to the national oil company and to all relevant aspects to make sure that it is possible to have normal economic governance in Libya.

The second track is the military commitment and thanks to the Berlin meeting it was possible today to receive the five military delegates of the side of Marshall Haftar, and we had already three and now we have two more on the side of the GNA. We are now in conditions to convene the military committee in the next few days. Finally, there is good progress, both in relation to the House of Representatives and the State Council, for the choice of their representatives to the political forum that will also include a number of names selected by the United Nations Special Representative, and we hope that that will allow also this political track to move forward in the near future.

I also welcome the Summit’s call on all parties in Libya to fully respect international humanitarian and human rights law, to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

I hope the commitments made today will create the conditions for a lasting solution to the Libyan crisis.

It is our collective responsibility to seize this opportunity and to ensure these commitments become a reality. 

I want once again to thank Chancellor Merkel and to thank all of you.

 

Question: What role do you see Europe playing going forward? Will there be a monitoring mission with European troops?

Answer: Well, I'm very worried by the fact that several ports, several harbors from where oil is exported, have been blocked and that one very important oil field is also stopping after today.

And obviously, we believe that part of a more comprehensive solution would have to be an effective reform of the national oil company, establishing the way things are done, and we hope that it will be possible to establish normality but of course it will depend on all the other tracks.

But first, we need to have a ceasefire. We cannot monitor something that doesn't exist. So we need to have a ceasefire. We have a truce, and one simple question is that all the participants today committed to support the ceasefire and committed to put pressure on the parties to conflicts for a full ceasefire to be reached.

Second, once we have a successful ceasefire, we need to have a long talk about how monitoring can be established in different ways. It will of course, require discussion with the parties to the conflict that will be accepted by the parties to the conflict and it will require that eventually the Security Council agree on a decision and, obviously, eventually, several international organizations will be involved, it's early to say. The UN is ready to play a role and to play its part, but I believe Europe will always have a very important role as it has had in diplomatic aspects. It was present today and it has been very active in trying to create the conditions for peace in the country. It has been obviously very active in the preparation of the different tracks and I hope that if things move in the right direction it will play a very important role in the future of Libya.

 

Question: What was achieved today that was different from before?

We have witnessed for months and months the progressive escalation of the conflict. But that escalation has reached in the last few days, a very dangerous dimension.

Now, we have an escalation of the Libyan conflict with some foreign interference. We were facing the risk of a true regional escalation and that risk was averted in Berlin provided of course that it is possible to maintain the truce and that it will lead to a ceasefire. But that escalation that was taking place and was becoming extremely dangerous, today there is a strong commitment to stop it. And this is a very important result of the Berlin Conference.

 

Question: There’s already a Security Council resolution imposing an arms embargo in Libya, why was this communiqué necessary?

We are witnessing something that is totally unacceptable. It's a constant violation of international law. Security Council resolutions that are not being respected. So I am totally convinced that the members of the Security Council need to assume their responsibilities for the body itself to be taken seriously in the context of the Libyan conflict.