Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at a UN Security Council Briefing on Libya
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salame for the detailed briefing about military and political developments in Libya. We are thankful for the report about the work of the Sanctions Committee.
The statement of SRSG Salame makes it clear that the situation in Libya remains tense. Despite the proclaimed ceasefire, armed clashes continue and intensify.
We are concerned by news about violations of the arms embargo and stress that the competing external stakeholders must stop fueling the conflict. Illegal arms traffic in Libya destabilizes the situation with security both in the country and in the Sahara-Sahel region.
In her statement, the distinguished representative of the UK said that “Libya stands on the brink of disaster”. It does, but it has been standing on the brink of disaster not since April last year, but since 2011 when the Libyan statehood was ruined. Today’s developments can be tracked back to that time.
Ever since the conflict started, we have been calling to focus the global and regional efforts on unification of Libya. The Berlin conference was meant to work for consolidation of external stakeholders in the interests of Libya’s stabilization. Russia joined the preparation process for the conference right when it began, as we are in support of any initiatives that may add to crisis settlement: earlier we took part in the meetings in Paris and Palermo. We also made extra efforts aimed both at general de-escalation in Libya and creating conditions for the summit in Berlin: Together with Turkey we organized a meeting of the Libyan sides in Moscow on 13 January. Our initiative had a target to establish ceasefire in Libya in order to let the sides resume efforts at the political track.
When working on the Berlin documents we proceeded from the key principle that is embodies in UNSC resolutions: It is the Libyans who are to determine the fate of the country. Russia does not have and has never had any hidden agenda in the Libyan conflict. We maintain and appreciate contacts we have with all sides involved. We make no preferences for any of them. We explain to them our position that favors political settlement. We sent consecutive signals that forceful methods of struggling for power must be abandoned and that it is vital to join efforts of all responsible actors in Libya in order to recover statehood and national institutions as soon as possible.
We view the final communique of the Berlin conference as support for efforts made by the SRSG to create conditions for the Libyan sides to get back to the negotiations table in order to start a sustainable and inclusive national dialogue.
Let me emphasize now what we were saying in Berlin and what everyone in this room agrees with: it is a Libya-owned dialogue. Berlin was needed to create the relevant context, build an environment at the external perimeter, send an unambiguous signal to the Libyan sides. We need to be clear about what all Libyan sides make of the provisions of the conference's final documents.
We have closely followed the statement by SRSG Salame and plan to continue communication with him to clarify the details of his plan. We fully support the efforts of the SRSG in his uneasy work. We hope those issues will be elucidated soon at the meetings of the joint military commission 5+5.
We believe the Council should support steps that galvanize political track and make decisions that should help the Libyan sides overcome contradictions.
Mr.Salame used the word “credibility” in his briefing. We are convinced that eventual decisions that the Council can make should be credible. Political settlement in Libya should not be an arena for international competition.
It is important to learn to account for the opinion and interests of direct neighbors of the country that are impacted by the ongoing crisis, and also account for the opinion of international organizations. They can play a constructive role in promoting the peaceful settlement.