Statement by Mr.Vladimir Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council on the sitiation in Libya
We thank Mr. Salamé for his objective briefing and support his efforts to implement the United Nations action plan approved by the Security Council and aimed at helping Libyans to unify their country and ensure its socioeconomic recovery.
We realize that the differences among Libyans run too deep to expect rapid progress.
We believe that the main prerequisite for the success of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya will be the ability to unite international efforts to achieve a settlement, which means refraining from competing political initiatives. And if agreements are reached, it will be essential to make every possible effort to implement them. We are extremely concerned about the unfortunate developments in Tripoli over the past few weeks.
The escalating situation was halted only thanks to the courageous efforts of Mr. Salamé and his team. The ongoing clashes have shown the pointlessness of the attempts to portray the situation in the capital as being stabilized. Owing to the force of these objective circumstances, the authorities in Tripoli continue to have extremely limited capabilities and have to rely on the dominant armed groups. Most unfortunately, unification of the security forces has still not begun, although it should be a priority. Even the widely proclaimed project to establish a so-called presidential guard has still not been realized.
We welcome Mr. Salamé’s efforts to help the parties to the conflict reach a lasting agreement on a cessation of hostilities. We call on Libyans to stop the escalating violence and unite to restore and rebuild their country and combat terrorism. We call on external sponsors to work to unify Libya, encourage efforts aimed at centralization and to remember that Libya, with its rich history, culture and natural resources, belongs to its people alone. Outside actors should contribute to national reconciliation in Libya and the key coordinating role of the United Nations could be improved.
We believe that every useful initiative deserves attention and support, but isolated political acts without a clear strategy are very unlikely to raise intra-Libyan reconciliation to a qualitatively higher level. Every step should be aimed at unifying the country on every possible level. Russia maintains contacts with all parties, encouraging them to seek compromises for the sake of peace and stability in Libya and the Mediterranean region.
We support establishing a consolidated mechanism for external assistance in the settlement process, under the auspices and with the help of the United Nations. We support the efforts to steer the political process towards the holding of general elections by the end of the year. Needless to say, we should bear in mind that favourable conditions are essential for that. Libyan society must be ready to enter the electoral phase, because if not, elections will only reopen old wounds and lead to a new cycle of confrontation rather than the desired reunification, inevitably complicating the political efforts of the United Nations.
We have been closely following developments in the vitally important oil sector, on which the wellbeing of Libya’s citizens depends. Natural resources should be used for the benefit of every single citizen of the country, not as pocket change in the geopolitical arrangements of other States. Issues pertaining to the control of oil infrastructure, export operations and the functioning of banking and financial institutions should be resolved by Libyans themselves through dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations.
The participation of international financial organizations in these processes should be carefully considered and the position of the Libyan authorities taken into account. The Secretary-General underscores in his report (S/2018/780) that support for the dignified and safe return of internally displaced persons is a key priority for the international community’s humanitarian assistance to Libya, and we are in complete agreement with his position.
There should be a similar approach in Syria, free of politicized attitudes. We thank the Ambassador of Sweden, in his capacity as Chair, and his team for their professionalism in coordinating the work of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya. International restrictions are not an end in themselves but should rather contribute to the political process, which is why from now on we will take an extremely careful approach to sanctions measures that do not have obvious added value. We are concerned about the situation of migrants and refugees in Libya and the abuses of their rights, but a long-term solution to that problem is certainly not to be found through sanctions.
For that, effective criminal prosecution has to be launched at the national level. International cooperation is very important, including within the framework of the relevant entities. No attention has been given to criminality in countries of destination for migrants. Lastly, we have not seen any serious attempts to deal with the root causes of these mass migrations, which originate first and foremost in dire socioeconomic situations and conflicts, including some provoked from outside.
We must work on improving the situation in these regions, after which people will return to their homes of their own volition. Libyans have been complaining for a long time about the significant losses they have sustained where their assets in foreign credit institutions have been frozen in accordance with Security Council decisions. The situation should be impartially evaluated in order to make the best possible decision without going beyond the existing sanction frameworks.
Another ongoing pressing problem involves the illegal flow of weapons into Libya, which affects both its own security and that of the surrounding region. In the absence of a centralized State authority and a united army, talk about easing the arms embargo would be premature.
Furthermore, the strictest possible control is required when delivering products for military use in Libya within the framework of existing exemptions, in order to ensure that they are not lost or misappropriated. Who wins when weapons or military technology fall into the hands of armed groups, foreign mercenaries or even terrorists, who are still present in Libya to this day?
Russia and Libya are linked in a historically friendly and mutually respectful relationship in many areas. We want to advance and deepen our cooperation with Libya, but if we are to stabilize it we must unite international and regional efforts as quickly as possible.