Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia in explanation of vote on SC draft resolution in support of Berlin Conference on Libya

Mr. President,

The Russian Federation abstained in the voting on SC draft resolution submitted by the United Kingdom and Germany in support of the Berlin Conference on Libya. We still do not understand clearly whether all parties in Libya are ready to implement this decision, although we have repeatedly stressed the importance of this step in the course of the preparation of the Berlin forum and after its completion. This step was really needed given the specific nature of the Libyan crisis caused by gross violations of UNSC resolutions in 2011.

Thus, it is necessary to emphasize that from the very beginning, Russian representatives participated actively in preparation of the Berlin conference. Not only we worked on the final communiqué, but also we tried to support our German colleagues with practical steps and create favorable conditions for holding a fruitful conference.  To this end, together with Turkey, we organized a meeting of the Libyan warring parties in Moscow on 13 January. Our initiative was aimed at establishing a ceasefire in Libya and it contributed significantly to international efforts. Isn’t it a proof that Russia, more than anyone, was interested in harmonizing and implementing Berlin's decisions?

However, the way the further work on the UN platform unfolded, makes us believe that many collegues were simply interested in adopting a resolution as soon as possible, no matter how it will be implemented. Well, if the resolution is a goal in itself, this goal seems to have been achieved.

So, that's what we get. The Berlin conference was intended as one of the stages of the three-stage plan of Special Representative Mr. Ghassan Salame, namely consolidation of external actors in order to create conditions for launching political regulation in Libya. Everyone, including us, agreed on this. And in Berlin, all participants signed the document. And if it came to welcoming this result within the Security Council, we could do it the first day after the summit.  

Instead, our colleagues started to persuade us to adopt a resolution that would "look to the future" and "have muscles". The idea itself is not bad, but it has a flaw that we are already tired of talking about – the lack of explicit consent from the Libyan parties. That is the fundamental principle of the solution for Libya’s conflict. This principle is enshrined in SC resolutions. Once again, it is up to the Libyans to determine the future of their country. That is the principle that should be applied to the recommendations to the Libyan parties contained in Berlin's final document. I emphasize that this applies to those provisions that should be implemented by the Libyan parties, not by external actors. We discussed this principle with both the organizers of the event in Germany and the United Nations. Did we obtain that consent? No. Were there any serious attempts to reach it? No.

At the same time, we urged our colleagues not to rush things with adopting the resolution. That was also mentioned by other Council members who were not invited to Berlin but who are interested in conflict resolution in Libya. The Libyans have just begun a dialogue, including one in the framework of the joint military commission 5+5. Within this dialog should be set the parameters for a ceasefire mentioned in the Berlin communiqué. So why don’t we want to wait for the outcome of the Libyan consultations? Then we could say: yes, the Libyans themselves agreed on this, and the Security Council can ensure the implementation of their decisions. Today, we received a document that stipulates the implementation of something that does not yet exist. Moreover it provides for the possibility of imposing sanctions for non-compliance with something that is not yet in place, and requires that the Secretary-General should provide his recommendations in this regard.

We doubt that such ultimatums will "spur" Libyans to reach agreement. It’s our strong wish that all SC resolutions on Libya are implemented. We want that document to be viable. However, given the text we have received we have no certainty about that. Therefore, we could not support it, and if that resolution is not implemented, we will remind you of what we’ve said today.

We have other problems with the text of the resolution. We will not go into detail, as we have voiced all our concerns during the relevant consultations. Unfortunately, the co-sponsors have rejected them. Let me note one more thing. Yesterday, we adopted another resolution, the so-called Libya sanctions resolution. We could not help but notice how freely some colleagues represent realities on the ground. When it comes to a one-time event, they insist on inserting it into a document. But some facts are ignored, even when there is enough information, and from different sources. 

To sum up, yesterday and today we received two resolutions on Libya on which there is no consensus in the Security Council. We have this result because of some of our colleagues. We can express nothing but our deep disappointment and regret.

Thank you.

In response to the representative of Great Britain

I will not repeat what I have already said about why we have doubts about the feasibility of this resolution and what has made us abstain. Time will show who was right. If the resolution plays a positive role in the Libyan settlement, I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. But we have doubts that the resolution, as it is drafted, will contribute to a settlement in the direction we want it to.

 But that is not what I wanted to say, Mr. President. We have been used to the fact that the United States is obsessed with looking for a "Russian footprint" in any situation. Instead of looking for someone to blame and labelling, it is better to remember what provoked the current crisis in Libya. If you do not remember, I will remind you. In 2011, the UN Security Council resolution was grossly distorted and violated, and after that, the once prosperous country was destroyed by well-known countries, and Libyan statehood ceased to exist.

We all know the result, we know what happened to Libya and we still cannot stick it together. Moreover, Libya has become a haven for a variety of terrorists and foreign fighters from different countries. I would like to remind you that in course of the negotiations on the resolution, Russia proposed to mention in the text foreign terrorist fighters. Who resisted it? Our colleagues in the United States. Why? Tt's a rhetorical question.

Thank you.