Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the situation in Libya
We thank USG DiCarlo for a substantive briefing on the situation in Libya in the context of activities of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). We also listened carefully to Ms. Bushra Alhodiri.
As of today, the situation in and around Libya is losing stability. The country cannot recover from the consequences of Western aggression in 2011, which completely ruined the Libyan statehood and triggered a political crisis that continues until this day.
Last week the roadmap of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum expired. This benchmark document was called to define the prospects of further political settlement (including a qualitative transition in terms of unification of the administrative and power bodies of former Jamahiriya), bolster economy and social aspects. Unfortunately, some tasks contained in the roadmap, including finalization of the work on the country’s Constitution and convening of nation-wide elections could not be fulfilled in time. Nevertheless, the spirit of the roadmap and its principles remain relevant for Libya’s future. The fact that the document expired gives no reason to “throw the cap over the mill”.
In this regard, we note a positive commitment of Prime Minister Bashagha who was elected by the House of Representatives and his office to further engagement in the interests of the country, as well as steps taken in this regard. Most importantly, this enthusiasm must be steered in the right constructive course. There is still much to be done to establish consolidated governance bodies, unify state mechanisms and financial and economic institutions, create united armed forces. But the most important thing that Libyans have to do is overcome the burden of mutual mistrust that was provoked by many years of conflict.
We strongly condemn the outbreaks of violence among armed groups in Tripoli and other regions of the country that have become more frequent recently, as well as road blockages along the coastline. We call to abstain from ill-considered acts that can deepen the divide. All international stakeholders that can influence Libyan forces should drive them towards constructive interaction with one another in order to find compromise solutions to the existing problems by political and diplomatic means. The only alternative to this would be an escalation of armed confrontation, which definitely must be avoided.
We welcome progress at the track of political settlement. A third round of talks concluded in Cairo, where members of the House of Representatives and Supreme Council of State had negotiated draft constitution. The talks effected some solid results, but unfortunately, no final agreement has been reached yet. We can only hope that the upcoming meeting of A. Saleh and Kh. Al-Mishri in Geneva at the end of the month will help resolve the remaining disputes.
It is reassuring that the ceasefire regime still holds and the Joint 5+5 Military Commission keeps working. The issue of evacuating foreign forces from Libya remains pressing. We stand for a synchronized, well-balanced, systematic and step-by-step withdrawal of all non-Libyan armed groups and military units as per the agreements reached by the Joint 5+5 Military Commission in Geneva last year. This would preclude deterioration of the security situation.
International efforts at the Libyan track need to be consolidated today as never before. Libya must not be an arena for competition where actors pursue their own egoistic goals. Yet we must say with regret that those who ruined Libya back in 2011 have different plans. Unity of the Security Council on the Libyan file is but a smokescreen for them. Otherwise it is extremely hard to explain why our Western colleagues, and particularly British penholders of the Libyan file have adopted such an unconstructive stance towards Russia-proposed draft statement of President of the Security Council that communicates a shared position of UNSC members in support of stability and a resilient political transition in Libya. We regret that at this critical stage our British colleagues succumbed to jealousy over their penholdership, which made them come forth with knowingly unacceptable amendments that did not let the Council adopt the statement. In addition to that, lately some Western UNSC members circulated a separate statement that to a large extent echoed the essence of our proposed draft. Now we do not have any doubts that high-sounding rhetoric of our Western colleagues about the “importance of the Council speaking with one voice” is nothing other than pure cynicism and a flat-out manifestation of double standards that Libya has been suffering from for so long.
Due to remaining internal contradictions in Libya and egoism of our Western colleagues, the situation in that country risks spiraling out of control. Therefore we underscore once again that there is no alternative to a UN-backed settlement process with due account for the Libyan realia. UNSMIL is to play one of the key mediator roles in this layout. However, the Mission has remained "decapitated" for quite some time by now. Without a leader, UNSMIL cannot deliver on its crucial mandated functions of safeguarding national dialogue.
Lately UNSMIL has been steered by Stephanie Williams, though she is a Special Advisor to the Secretary-General and is not accountable to the Security Council. We believe that her leadership of the Mission is being dragged out artificially despite repetitive claims that this is a temporary measure. We perceive is as a proof of the fact that our Western colleagues, as part of their neo-colonial narrative, want to impose on Libya their vision of what the future of the country should look like and who should be in charge there. We believe this approach is cynical and unacceptable. The UN emissary should hold an effective UNSC-authorized mandate. We will proceed from these considerations when negotiating draft UNSC resolution on renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate in July. Egoism of our Western colleagues, those self-appointed arbiters of Libya’s fate, must be put an end to.
We note the commitment of the Secretary-General to have this issue solved. At the same time, we call on him to approach it in a well-weighed and thoughtful way. We not only need the Security Council to have consensus on the candidature, but also make sure that opinions of internal Libyan sides and regional stakeholders are duly accounted for. Besides, we must resist the dictation of Western states who believe Libya to be their “backyard”.