Remarks by Ambassador Jürgen Schulz during the Security Council VTC Meeting on Libya, May 19, 2020

19.05.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Let me start by saying that since this Council last met on the situation in Libya, unfortunately, we have to note, and we have had this confirmed by the briefing, that violence and fighting have further escalated. We have heard about significant increases in hostilities, escalation of violence and a higher number of indiscriminate attacks against civilians. This is all very troubling. Last reports on the shelling of residential areas by General Haftar and his aligned forces are particularly troubling. While COVID-19 continues to spread, UNSMIL reported 17 attacks on hospitals and health facilities. These utterly cynical acts undermine all efforts to protect Libyan civilians from a potential health crisis.

We condemn all attacks against civilians and civilian targets as they are violations of international humanitarian law. These indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable, and those responsible need to be held accountable.We certainly must not tolerate a new spiral of violence. And we call on all Libyan actors to stop this madness.

We call on all countries involved in Libya to observe the principles of international law, the relevant UN Security Council resolutions passed with regard to Libya and to refrain from any form of support that could lead to further escalations.

Our repeated call for a humanitarian truce becomes, unfortunately, more and more prevalent and urgent. In this vein, we express our strong support for the Secretary General's initiative for a global ceasefire to battle the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr. President, amidst the fighting, adherence to the arms embargo remains one key prerequisite to silence the weapons. This conflict cannot be resolved by military means, but requires a political solution. I would like to recall the pledges made by participants of the Berlin Conference to refrain from any interference in the conflict in Libya. Resolution 2510, which endorses the conclusions of the Berlin Conference, remains the key instrument in working towards a sustainable political solution.

The implementation of the findings of the Berlin Process is an ongoing process. The International Follow-up Committee to oversee the approach operationalization of the pledges made in Berlin met just last week. What is important to say is that the International Follow-up Committee on Libya and its working groups continue the work of the Berlin Process in support of UNSMIL.We also would like to thank our Italian colleagues for their important efforts in that regard.

We urgently need to return to a quick resumption of political talks among the Libyan parties. Therefore, we also call for the swift appointment of a successor to SRSG Ghassan Salamé to step up these efforts.

As the arms embargo remains key, the EU has recently launched Operation EUNAFOR MED IRINI. Operation IRINI will focus on the implementation and monitoring of the arms embargo. By curbing the flow of arms and disrupting migrant smuggling routes, this operation will contribute to the implementation of the arms embargo and in the end will pave the way to a safer and more stable Libya in line with and as mandated by relevant Security Council resolutions. 

I would like to reiterate the call made by the Secretary-General in his report on the implementation of Resolution 2473. All member states are invited to complement the efforts of Operation Irini to stop the illicit flow of arms and related material to Libya.

Mr President, before closing, let me thank, acting SRSG Williams for excellent leadership and the staff of UNSMIL for their perseverance to deliver against a mandate in spite of the severe restrictions COVID-19 has placed it under. I would also like to thank the Panel of Experts supporting the Libya Sanctions Committee for its important work during these difficult times.

The Sanctions Committee could finally meet in a closed to VTC last Friday  together with a Panel of Experts. This is a positive step towards continuing the committee's important work. Regarding the new mandate of the Panel of Experts, we welcome future comprehensive reporting in line with Resolution 2509, including new reporting requirements on illicit oil imports. We believe that this is an important step towards safeguarding the unity of Libya's institutions, and we are looking forward to more reports in this vein.

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