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Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter in the Security Council VTC meeting on Libya, November 19

19.11.2020 - Speech

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We are at a historical juncture: the breakthrough achieved in the Joint Military Commission and the subsequent Libyan Political Dialogue Forum have demonstrated: we are close to a Libyan-owned political solution, which will bring peace and stability to Libya – within the framework of the Berlin Process and resolution 2510 and under the auspices of the United Nations.

We welcome the ceasefire agreement reached as a result of the Joint Military Commission talks. We call for its swift and full implementation. As international community we must respect the aspirations of Libyans to cease all fighting – this includes full adherence to the arms embargo – and, I want to underline this, the immediate and complete withdrawal of all foreign troops, fighters and  mercenaries. And to make this clear: withdrawal means leaving Libya – not rebranding fighters as alleged training personnel.

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum was another step in the right direction: finally Libyans begin shaping their own future. We commend all participants for their constructive role and commitment. We urge all key players to stay the course and to continue to engage in dialogue with a view to swiftly nominating the new government. This also means that this Council’s message to spoilers must be that spoiling the process has consequences. Also, it remains essential to continue to pave the way towards elections. We call upon all parties of the conflict to support the political dialogue.

UNSMIL has played a decisive role in guiding these negotiations. Under the highly able leadership of Stephanie Williams, the UN have demonstrated again why they are absolutely indispensable. The progress we have just seen is excellent news for Libya, the United Nations and this Council.

Full adherence to the arms embargo will remain key in support of the political process. Violations must not be committed again. The participants of the Berlin conference are called upon in particular to make sure that the arms embargo is strictly implemented. The sanctions committee will continue to monitor the situation. We thank the Panel of Experts on Libya for its excellent work and its detailed reporting. All Member States must extend their full cooperation to the Panel. The EU as a regional organization acting under resolution 2292 will continue its efforts in implementing the arms embargo through Operation IRINI, as mandated by this Council. Operation IRINI has displayed utmost transparency in communicating with the sanctions Committee and is acting in full adherence with the applicable Security Council resolutions.

The civilian population of Libya has endured years of suffering. We hope that the ceasefire, political dialogue and resumption of oil production will pave the way to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, enable an effective COVID-19 response and put an end to impunity for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Perpetrators of such violations must be brought to justice in order to enable a reconciliation process. We will remain committed to increasing accountability and the rule of law.

I once again commend Acting SRSG Williams and the dedicated staff of UNSMIL who continue to work under exceptional and extremely difficult circumstances. Although A-SRSG Williams has our full support at the top of UNSMIL, we are looking forward to a swift leadership appointment.

As the chair of the 1970 Committee I regret to inform you that the presentation of the Committee’s activities that was planned as part of today’s meeting had to be cancelled. Due to the blockade of one member of the committee, we were not able to agree on a mere factual account of what has happened since September. This is very unfortunate and disappointing given the importance of the 1970 Committee’s work in support of a peaceful solution for Libya. This is another lamentable development after the failure to agree on the publication of the interim report of the Panel of Experts in September. Those who are blocking even such small steps in the sanctions Committee must bear the responsibility for this.

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