Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at an open VTC of UNSC members on the situation in Libya
We welcome the appointment of Mr. Ján Kubiš as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Libya and the Head of UNSMIL. We thank Mr. Kubiš for briefing us on the situation in Libya.
This March not only marks the 10th anniversary of the Syrian crisis – the fact that our Western colleagues were abundantly stressing several days ago. There is another sad and no less important date to be marked this month that they would rather not recall. Ten years ago, in gross distortion of UNSC resolution 1973, NATO started bombings of Libya which led to the collapse of Libya's statehood, plunged the country into a fratricidal war, encouraged the growth of extremism, emergence of terrorists, destabilization in Mali and in the Sahara-Sahel region at large, and uncontrolled migration in the Mediterranean. From the very beginning, there were violations of UNSC resolution 1970 – when arms deliveries started to arrive in Libya in support of the NATO operation, and when foreign trainers and special ops units were working there. This decade brought much suffering to the Libyan people as they walked the path of restoring peace. Hopefully, those sufferings were not for nothing. We call on our Western colleagues not to forget this dreadful lesson that Libyans have been paying off for up to this day, and to keep from interfering in internal affairs of independent states, Libya included, in the future.
By the way, there is one more sad anniversary today – 22 years since NATO started bombings of Yugoslavia.
During these recent two weeks, Libyans made an important step towards peace in their country. Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh formed a new Transitional Government of National Unity that received a vote of trust from the Parliament. Also, members of the Presidential Council, headed by Mohamed al-Menfi, took the oath of office. It is quite symbolical that these events were held in Tripoli, Sirte, and Tobruk as a sign of consolidation of the Libyan society. We positively assess the incoming reports about the ceremony held in Benghazi, where the authorities of the eastern part of Libya passed on their powers to the Government of National Unity. We welcome the formation of Libya’s new civil authorities that pursue the task to prepare the country for the general elections scheduled for the end 2021.
This is a difficult mission. A lot needs to be done to ensure prompt normalization of the situation in Libya, build single governance, merge state mechanisms, as well as financial and economic institutions, and create united armed forces. The most important thing that Libyans have to do is to overcome the burden of mutual distrust that had been caused by the many-year-long conflict.
We are convinced that inclusiveness is key to solving all these tasks. It can lay down solid groundwork for the Libyan national dialogue, ensure that interests of all regions and major political forces be taken onboard, including the interests of those who supported the former Jamahiriya and the Libyan National Army. On our part, we are ready to provide all possible support to the soonest stabilization in Libya, i.a. in the course of our contacts with all Libyan representatives, whereby we will encourage them to take a constructive approach, and will also support the efforts of Special Envoy Kubiš.
5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission plays an important role in maintaining the ceasefire. We call on all Libyan sides to act in a reserved manner and stick to the obligations stemming from the Ceasefire Agreement. We also call to observe the arms embargo which is in effect with regard to Libya.
We welcome the steps that were made to enable communication between various regions of the country. These steps will help normalize the every-day life of ordinary people and promote humanitarian assistance. When considering the situation in Libya, the international community should be guided by decisions that were elaborated, coordinated, and endorsed by Libyans themselves. In this regard, we have taken note of the report of the UN Advance Team for Ceasefire Monitoring in Libya.
Dialogue aimed at ensuring stability of the oil sector constitutes an important element of stabilization, given the understanding that Libya’s natural resources belong to all citizens of this country. The area of finance and economy also needs regulation. In this regard, we are concerned by the fact that UNSC subsidiary bodies are receiving more and more requests to use some part of Libya’s “frozen” assets to cover their servicing. We remind that Western companies were instructed to safe keep the assets rather than profit off the Libyan people.
We quite regularly heard allegations about actions of the Russian military in Libya, and stressed on many occasions that there were no Russian military in that country. If any our citizens are present in Libya, they definitely do not represent the Russian state. By the way, we many times spoke of the falsity of data at the disposal of the Panel of Experts that do not even bother to double check on the information that has been “leaked” to them from the open sources. Whereas this information can be easily refuted, and Russian journalists actually did this. All these revelations are easily accessible on the Internet.
I would recommend to our colleagues that they address the conclusions of the Panel of Experts regarding citizens of their countries actively operating in Libya. It is clear that some of these operations cannot be carried out without governmental support. So instead of making such allegations one might rather need to look in the mirror.
We would like to react to a comment regarding the intermediary report by the Chair of 1970 Sanctions Committee.
The final version of the document was not agreed within the Committee, so we would not like to raise the sensitive issues pertaining to its endorsement in public space. However we feel compelled to respond to the allegations that we heard and clarify that the report failed to be endorsed due to discrepancies regarding the legitimacy of actions of EU operation “IRINI”. We believe that things must be called by their real names and that opinions of the Committee members must be taken onboard, however unlikeable they might seem to some our colleagues.
I thank you.