Special Representative Expresses Outrage over Actors Talking Peace while Fuelling Conflict in Libya, as Security Council Hears Calls for End to Foreign Meddling

We’re ‘Sick and Tired’ of Being World’s Proxy Battleground, Representative Stresses, amid Concerns for Neighbouring States

The senior United Nations official in Libya expressed outrage in the Security Council today over the conduct of actors inside and outside the country who nod towards peace yet double down on military actions, as delegates called for an end to foreign meddling and for upholding the arms embargo as part of a broader plan to stop the spiralling conflict.

Briefing Council members from Brazzaville, Congo, Ghassan Salame, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), recalled that representatives of countries and regions attending the 19 January Berlin Conference on Libya � the second step of the three step initiative presented to the Council on 29 July � agreed not to interfere in Libya’s internal affairs and to abide by the United Nations arms embargo.

Berlin was a serious effort to try to unify a discordant international community, he said, noting that the truce called by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and Turkey on 8 January provided the backdrop. While the violence initially subsided, exchanges of artillery fire have since increased significantly in Tripoli. Outside the capital city, troops of General Khalifa Haftar’s LNA attacked Government of National Accord forces in Abu Grain, prompting heavy clashes.

Warning that military reinforcements on both sides raise the spectre of a conflict engulfing the wider region, he said it is imperative that the Joint Military Commission � five members of which were proposed by sides � meet under United Nations auspices to transform the truce into a ceasefire. It is also essential that the Council find its unity, he emphasized. Too much is at stake, including our collective credibility.

Mathias Licharz (Germany), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya, reported that its Panel of Experts expressed concerns over non-implementation of the arms embargo. Repeated violations were reported, as well as attacks against civilians, he added. Regarding the freeze on assets, he reported that the Committee took no negative decision in relation to a notification by Bahrain concerning basic expenses of the Libyan Investment Authority.

In the ensuing discussion, Libya’s representative said that meddling countries that fear his country’s independence are prepared to kill Libyan children in pursuit of their national interests. The Secretary-General’s report outlines the magnitude of crimes committed by General Haftar and his supporting parties, who called for jihad against Tripoli, he recalled, remarking: This is unprecedented. With a Council-supported national congress days away, equipment and mercenaries have been procured from Chad, Sudan and elsewhere, he said, adding that bombs continue to target hospitals and homes, yet the Council neither names nor shames the perpetrators.

These are violations and crimes, he insisted, citing a Panel of Experts report that outlines the supply of drones and aerial support systems by the United Arab Emirates to one party to the conflict. Several Emirati companies are recruiting Sudanese youth and deploying them to Libya, he added, asking: Are they not supporting a coup d’etat? Referring to Egypt, he asked how a big brother can support those killing Arabs. Stressing that Libya cannot accept a partial peace, he questioned the practical value of international efforts to monitor and follow up on violations if they amount to mere words.

We are sick and tired of being the proxy battleground of the world, he said, underlining the vital role of the African Union, which some seek to push out into the cold. He also expressed gratitude to Congo for hosting the African Union High-Level Summit and welcomed that country’s support for African solidarity in the drive towards reconciliation in Libya. Some often use the fight against terrorism as a pretext to justify their actions, he noted. Libya has always cooperated in that fight, he added, citing the liberation of Sirte from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) as an example. Armed groups are also a pretext used to justify the extension of external financial support, he said, while pointing out that some of them are tribal in nature and others ideologically based. You can’t put them all in the same basket, he insisted.

Turning to sanctions, he stressed that Libya does not wish to see the asset freeze lifted at this stage and calls instead for a slight easing of that measure to prevent annual losses amounting to tens of millions of dollars. The freezing of assets belonging to companies affiliated with the Libyan National Authority is a misstep that, hopefully, can be corrected, he said. Recalling that the country came close to achieving reconciliation, he said the battle being waged today is not between east and west, but one carried out by a single individual in his quest for power. However, Libya will eventually reconcile, and with the rule of law in place, pursue those responsible for sowing discord, he vowed.

Niger’s representative noted that the fighting in Libya was exacerbated by interference on the part of foreign States. Libya does not need a transfer of weapons and foreign fighters, but it needs peace, he emphasized. Welcoming the outcome of the 23 January Algiers meeting on Libya, which brought together neighbouring countries, as well as Germany, he described it as a good gesture in the search for the inclusiveness that Niger has always sought.

Tunisia’s representative, noting his country’s historical links with Libya, expressed full support for its efforts to surmount the current crisis and restore stability. Tunisia rejects external interference that further inflames the conflict, he stressed, while welcoming the convening of the African Union High Level Committee meeting in Brazzaville.

South Africa’s representative emphasized that insecurity in the Sahel is a result of instability in Libya, pointing out that the region has witnessed weapons flowing to armed groups in neighbouring countries, fuelling a jihadist insurgency, displacing more than 1 million people, threatening the African Union’s Silence the Guns by 2020 initiative and forcing countries to divert limited development resources into security-related efforts. The Council must be frank about the genesis of the conflict, he stressed.

In similar vein, the Russian Federation’s representative pointed out that the situation did not begin in April 2019, but in 2011, when Libya’s statehood was destroyed. From the outset, he recalled, the Russian Federation has called for a focus on unifying Libya and consolidating external stakeholders to stabilize the situation. The Russian Federation works on the premise that Libyans themselves must find a solution, he said, emphasizing that his country has no hidden agenda and does not favour any of the stakeholders, having conveyed to all of them its support for a political solution.

The representative of the United States noted that the commitments made in Berlin are already under threat, adding that it is past time those who have violated Council resolutions, including the arms embargo, face real consequences. She demanded that they implement the arms embargo and immediately halt the deployment of all personnel and equipment to Libya. She went on to underline that no group should be allowed to hijack oil production, while also calling for an end to threats against aviation and for displaced people to be allowed a safe return home.

China’s representative emphasized the importance of respecting Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Stressing the need for unremitting efforts to combat terrorism, he said the international community must work together to guard against the cross-border movements of foreign terrorist fighters.

Indonesia’s representative called upon the international community to provide honest support without any hidden agenda. He also underlined the need for Libyans to benefit from their own natural resources, expressing concern in that regard over the ongoing blockade of ports.

The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines emphasized the need to consider all affected neighbouring countries. She encouraged all efforts to establish a Libyan-owned and -led dialogue, including those of the Russian Federation, as well as the meetings held in Algiers and Brazzaville.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Dominican Republic, Belgium, Germany, Estonia and Viet Nam.

The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m.

Briefings

GHASSAN SALAMA�, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), briefed the Council by videoconference from Brazzaville, Congo, where he attended the eighth Summit of Heads of State of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya. Regarding the Berlin Conference on Libya, he reported that representatives of concerned countries and regional organizations � some of which have fuelled the conflict in that country � agreed not to interfere in its internal affairs and to abide by the United Nations arms embargo. Berlin was a serious effort to try to unify a discordant international community and give hope to the beleaguered Libyans, he said, noting that the backdrop for the Conference was the truce called by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and Turkey on 8 January and accepted by both parties to the conflict. While the violence initially subsided after the truce began on 12 January, the truce holds only in name, he said, noting that exchanges of artillery fire have increased significantly in Tripoli recently.

He went on to report that there have been at least 21 civilian casualties � 18 dead and 3 injured � from conflict-related incidents in and around the capital since 6 January. Outside Tripoli, severe fighting persists, he added, recalling that, on 26 January, the LNA launched an offensive against Government of National Accord forces in Abu Grain, south of Misrata, prompting heavy clashes, with dozens of casualties on both sides. Accompanying the clashes were strikes by fixed-wing aircraft of LNA and drone strikes by both sides. On 8 January, LNA extended its unilaterally declared no-fly zone to include the Mitiga airport in Tripoli, he said, adding that, on 22 January, it extended the zone further south towards Gheryan and Tarhouna. Since that time, Mitiga airport has been shelled on three occasions, he said, noting also that forces of the Government of National Accord reportedly downed an LNA drone near Misrata on 28 January. UNSMIL has recorded more than 110 reported truce violations since 12 January, he reported.

Meanwhile, military reinforcements on both sides raise the spectre of a broader conflict engulfing the wider region, he warned, pointing out that the warring parties continue to receive a sizeable amount of advanced equipment, fighters and advisers from foreign sponsors, in brazen violation of the arms embargo and pledges made at the Berlin Conference. LNA has reinforced its troops around Tripoli with arms, equipment and infantry, including foreign fighters. At the same time, foreign fighters supporting the Government of National Accord were flown into Tripoli by the thousands and deployed in forward locations alongside Libyan Government forces, he said, noting that, during that time, the latter, supported by a foreign sponsor, established advanced air defence systems throughout the western region. As recently as 28 January, the presence of foreign naval warships was witnessed off the coast of Tripoli, he added.

On 19 January, UNSMIL received from both sides the full roster of military representatives to attend the Joint Military Commission talks in Geneva, he said. While Government of National Accord representatives are ready to engage, the LNA delegation has yet to confirm its participation. It is imperative that the Joint Military Commission meet under United Nations auspices to transform the truce into a ceasefire, and to discuss the modalities for a ceasefire monitoring mechanism, he said, emphasizing the critical need to consolidate the truce for the success of parallel efforts to start the Libyan Political Forum, thereby enabling the parties to discuss transitional institutional arrangements. Deep political divisions within the House of Representatives, however, have impeded the selection of its delegates to the Forum, he noted.

Reporting on the economic track, he said Libyan experts representing the main national institutions, as well as various economic sectors, are developing terms of reference for the Libyan Expert Economic Commission. However, the economy is growing increasingly unstable due to the conflict, he said, adding that institutional fragmentation and inability to enact a unified economic policy is exacerbating tensions and creating new challenges. On 18 January, the National Oil Corporation declared force majeure on oil exports from Libya’s eastern ports following local protests, while the national debt has, meanwhile, surpassed 100 billion dinars and is spiking upwards. As for humanitarian conditions, he reported that more than 149,000 people have been forced to flee Tripoli since the current conflict began in April 2019. As of 22 January, nearly 120 schools in Ain Zara and Abu Salim remain closed and 26 health facilities have been damaged. In Sirte, reports of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention by armed groups since LNA took the city on 6 January are cause for concern, he said.

He went on to express hope that the Council will seize the momentum created in Berlin, calling for its specific endorsement of the Berlin conclusions by adopting a resolution. That would send a decisive signal to Libyans and to the spoilers � local and international alike � of the seriousness with which the international community regards this process. He went on to express deep anger over with events since the Berlin Conference, and with unscrupulous actors inside and outside Libya who cynically nod and wink towards efforts to promote peace and piously affirm their support for the United Nations, yet continue to double down on a military solution, raising the spectre of a full-scale conflict � all in blatant disregard for Libya’s sovereignty, the fundamental rights of its people and the rules-based international order. Urging the Council to find your unity to halt the senseless unravelling of Libya, he declared: Too much is at stake, including our collective credibility.

MATHIAS LICHARZ (Germany), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya, said that, during the reporting period, from 5 September 2019 to 29 January 2020, the Committee held three informal consultations and conducted additional work by silence procedure. During a meeting on 25 November 2019, the Committee heard a presentation by its Panel of Experts and members expressed concern about non implementation of the arms embargo, he said, adding that the experts also reported violations of the embargo, as well as attacks against civilians and civilian objects, in breach of international humanitarian law. Committee members also reiterated their support for the Panel’s work and encouraged it to report regularly on cases of non-compliance.

The Committee agreed to take action on two of the four recommendations addressed to it by the Panel, he said, adding that the remaining nine recommendations are addressed to the Security Council. The Committee continued to follow the case of Moncef Kartas, a member of the Panel, in relation to the privileges and immunities enjoyed by experts on mission. Detailing further activities during the reporting period, he said that, on 12 September 2019, upon a request by Libya, the Committee heard a briefing by the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the Libyan Investment Authority, a listed entity. Committee members emphasized the need to preserve the integrity and value of frozen assets for the benefit of the Libyan people. On 22 October 2019, the Committee heard a briefing by UNSMIL, as well as an oral update from the Panel, on both implementation of the arms embargo and reported violations.

Concerning travel bans, the Committee approved two exemption requests by Aisha Qadhafi and Safia Farkash al-Barassi, he continued. Regarding the freeze on assets, the Committee took no negative decision in relation to a notification by Bahrain concerning basic expenses of the Libyan Investment Authority. The Committee also approved an exemption request by Switzerland on extraordinary expenses of the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio, he reported. Concerning the arms embargo, the Committee responded to a request for guidance on the scope of the ban from the World Health Organization (WHO) in Libya. As for measures intended to prevent illicit exports of petroleum, including crude oil and refined petroleum products, he said the Committee received the name of the new focal point, appointed by the Libyan Government. The Committee is considering a draft implementation assistance notice on these measures, prepared by the Panel of Experts, to assist Member States with their proper implementation, he said.

Statements

JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom), warning that Libya stands on the brink of disaster, expressed grave concern over breaches of the arms embargo and reports of increased fighting. Underlining the urgent need for the Joint Military Commission to agree on a permanent ceasefire, he said both parties to the conflict must participate in the talks without delay. While welcoming efforts to create the Libyan Political Forum and the Expert Economic Commission, he condemned the blockading of oil terminals in the east, emphasizing that the loss of oil revenue will only lead to further suffering. Noting the 50 attacks targeting health-care facilities since April 2019, he urged both sides to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law. He went on to stress the vital need for the Council to demonstrate unity in supporting both UNSMIL and the United Nations-led political process. There is no alternative solution, he insisted.

KELLY CRAFT (United States), noting that the commitments made in Berlin are already under threat, said it is past time for those who have violated Council resolutions, including the arms embargo, to face real consequences. Calling upon the concerned countries to live up to their Berlin commitments, she demanded that they implement the arms embargo and immediately halt the deployment of all personnel and equipment to Libya. Engaging in the Joint Military Commission talks would send an important signal of commitment to staunching the bloodshed, she said, emphasizing that any ceasefire must create space for Libyans to discuss how to end the conflict. She went on to stress that extremist militias must be dismantled, the economy must be based on the rule of law and spoilers must not be allowed upend the process. More broadly, the representation of women and youth leaders in the planned Libyan dialogue must be finalized since a political solution to the situation will require a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned process. Underlining that no group should be allowed to hijack oil production, she also called for an end to threats against aviation and for displaced people to be allowed a safe return home.

ANNE GUEGUEN (France), noting that the outcome of the Berlin Conference buttressed the international consensus, emphasized that it must be implemented and followed up. With foreign interference and military actions undermining the situation, she said, France is troubled by violations of the arms embargo and breaches of the Berlin Conference commitments. Calling for resumption of the oil trade, she stressed the need for the concerned parties to act responsibly in agreeing to a credible and lasting ceasefire. She also called upon the parties to engage on the security, political and economic tracks, adding that the African Union and neighbouring countries can facilitate the resumption of political dialogue. With an inter-Libyan dialogue coming up in Addis Ababa, the Council should promptly endorse the outcome of the Berlin Conference by adopting a robust resolution covering support for the United Nations-facilitated political process, she said.

BERIOSKA ILUMINADA MORRISON GONZA�LEZ (Dominican Republic), while applauding the concrete steps taken to appoint representatives for the Joint Military Commission talks, condemned attacks against schools, hospitals and airports and called upon all parties to abide by the commitments made at the Berlin Conference. There can be no military solution, she said, emphasizing that the Libyan people should not suffer as a result of the inability of Member States to abide by the arms embargo. She went on to deplore the conditions in detention centres and the treatment of detainees, including arbitrary detention, stressing that they must be raised to minimal international standards. She welcomed a proposed joint project with the Peacebuilding Fund to engage youth in the political process.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said her delegation is deeply troubled by the difficulty in finding a solution to the nine-year conflict, noting that its focus will always be on the well-being of Libyans. Emphasizing the need to give consideration to all affected neighbouring countries, she said the Berlin Conference was an opportunity for the international community to demonstrate its commitment to curbing the incessant violence. Reiterating the importance of a Libyan-owned and -led dialogue under United Nations auspices, she encouraged all efforts to that end, including those by the Russian Federation, as well as the meeting held in Algiers and today’s Summit in Congo. Describing the designation of representatives to the Joint Military Commission talks as a positive sign, she urged them to begin negotiations for a permanent ceasefire in good faith. More broadly, all Member States must fully implement the arms embargo, she said, noting reports that it has been violated with impunity. Describing the upcoming Joint Military Commission meeting in Geneva and dialogue initiatives within the African Union and the League of Arab States as encouraging, she declared: We cannot be foolhardy to not advance on these platforms. A careful assessment of the situation in Libya is needed before deciding on next steps, she emphasized.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) expressed concern over reports of arms embargo violations and called upon external players to stop fuelling the conflict. Recalling remarks by the United Kingdom’s representative that Libya stands on the brink of disaster, he pointed out that the situation did not begin in April 2019, but in 2011, when Libya’s statehood was destroyed. From the outset, he recalled, the Russian Federation has called for a focus on unifying Libya and consolidating external stakeholders to stabilize the situation in the country. Having joined preparations for the Berlin Conference, the Russian Federation also organized, with Turkey, a meeting of Libyan parties in Moscow to establish a truce and facilitate initiatives to revive political efforts. The Russian Federation works on the premise that Libyans themselves must find a solution, he said, emphasizing that his country has no hidden agenda and does not favour any of the stakeholders, having conveyed to all of them its support for a political solution. He underscored the need to foreswear military means to seek power and to promptly restore Libya’s statehood. While the Berlin Conference outcome set the stage for the parties to return to negotiations, there is nonetheless a need for clarity around the positions of the Libyan sides and around the provisions of the Berlin outcome document, he said, adding that the Russian Federation continues to talk with the Special Representative to clarify those details. For its part, the Council should support efforts to facilitate resumption of the political track. Agreeing that a potential resolution must be credible, he stressed the importance of considering the views of Libya’s neighbours, who can play a valuable role in advancing a peaceful settlement.

WU HAITAO (China) said arms proliferation, refugees and proliferation all pose grave challenges to Libya, the region and the world. Emphasizing that implementation of the Berlin communique will require concerted efforts by both Libyans and the international community, he said the Council must accommodate the concerns of all sides and make every effort to adopt an actionable resolution as soon as possible. The priority is to achieve a sustained ceasefire, he stressed, urging countries with influence to push the parties to bridge their differences and help to restore political dialogue. Meanwhile, the Joint Military Commission must meet and strive for progress, he said, emphasizing that the international community must respect Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, support UNSMIL and remain committed to a Libyan-led process under the United Nations framework. Any solution must consider the concerns of neighbouring countries, he added. Stressing that unremitting efforts must be made to combat terrorism, he said the international community must work together to guard against the cross border movements of foreign terrorist fighters. He went on to underline the need for proper application of sanctions and for strict enforcement of the arms embargo.

KAREN VAN VLIERBERGE (Belgium) hailed the outcome of the Berlin Conference as a clear signal for the international community to end the crisis in Libya. Expressing concern over the systematic violation of the arms embargo over the last few months, she emphasized the importance of non-interference and of the Libyan owned process. She went on to warn against foreign meddling, noting that some States are providing heavy artillery and other sophisticated military equipment to armed groups in the field. Urging unanimous support for endorsement of the Berlin Conference outcome and for direct dialogue between the warring parties, as proposed by the Special Representative, she denounced two memoranda of understanding between the Government of National Accord and Turkey.

KGAUGELO THERMINA MOGASHOA (South Africa) emphasized that the Council must be frank about the genesis of the conflict at a time when fragmented State control and security is leading to the spread of armed groups vying for power and resources while triggering one of the worst humanitarian crises. All parties must commit urgently to a ceasefire and work towards a Libyan-led and -owned political process, he said, calling for an end to foreign interference. He went on to stress that insecurity in the Sahel is a result of instability in Libya, pointing out that region has witnessed weapons flowing to armed groups in neighbouring countries, fuelling a jihadist insurgency, displacing more than 1 million people, threatening the African Union’s Silence the Guns by 2020 initiative and forcing countries to divert limited development resources into security-related efforts. Threats of political and military interference in Libya’s internal affairs only increases the risk of confrontation, he warned, also expressing concern about the conflict’s impact on migrants and refugees. Expressing his delegation’s support for ongoing efforts to address those issues, he said resolution 2473 (2019) must be fully implemented, without exception.

CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) expressed his delegation’s frustration with the failure by the parties to respect the truce, thereby causing civilian casualties. He also deplored the failure by countries that gave commitments in Berlin to refrain from interfering in the conflict and in Libya’s internal affairs. They are among those delivering weapons, foreign fighters, ammunition and advanced systems to the warring parties, he said. Expressing anger over such cynical behaviour, he called upon those with influence over the parties to get the Joint Military Commission working. The Council must adopt a resolution endorsing the Berlin outcome, thereby sending a signal to Libyans that we won’t, as a Security Council, leave them alone, he stressed. It must also send a clear message to the spoilers that a Security Council resolution is binding under international law, he added.

GERT AUVA�A�RT (Estonia) welcomed the commitments made at the Berlin Conference as a successful step towards creating the space needed for the intra Libyan political process. However, the parties must now take additional concrete steps to honour and implement their commitments, he said, emphasizing that the most urgent action is ending violations of the arms embargo. The involvement of outside actors only further exacerbates the conflict, he added. Calling upon the parties to adhere to the truce agreed in Berlin and take steps towards a lasting ceasefire, he urged the Council to consider using the sanctions tools at its disposal in addressing spoilers. He went on to state that direct dialogue between the parties is another essential step, expressing hope that the first meeting of the Joint Military Commission can be convened as soon as possible.

NIANDOU AOUGI (Niger) said that, as a neighbouring State, his country welcomes the outcome of the Berlin Conference, which could lead to restored stability in the Sahel. He expressed concern, however, about the resumption of hostilities, noting that the fighting was exacerbated by interference on the part of foreign States. Libya does not need a transfer of weapons and foreign fighters, but it needs peace, he emphasized. Welcoming the outcome of the 23 January Algiers meeting on Libya, which brought together neighbouring countries and Germany, he described it as a good gesture in the search for inclusiveness that his country has always sought. Niger will work alongside the other countries concerned to advance the peace process in Libya, he said, inviting the Security Council to consider the conclusions of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya, held in Brazzaville. They will be validated by the bloc’s forthcoming Summit in Addis Ababa, he added.

MONCEF BAATI (Tunisia) said that instability and military confrontation over the past years added to the frustration of Libyans and threatened that country’s unity and territorial integrity. Noting his own country’s historical links with Libya, he expressed full support for its efforts to surmount the current crisis and restore stability. Reiterating calls for all parties to abide by the truce and turn it into a permanent ceasefire, he emphasized that there is no military solution to the conflict, insisting that all actors must resort to dialogue. He went on to call for a Council resolution underlining the outcome of the Berlin Conference and acknowledging the Moscow Conference that paved the way for it. Tunisia rejects external interference that further inflames the conflict, he stressed, while welcoming the convening of the African Union High-Level Committee meeting in Brazzaville. He added that his delegation is also pinning hope on the forthcoming African Union-facilitated inter-Libyan dialogue to be held in Addis Ababa.

PHAM HAI ANH (Viet Nam), Council President for January, spoke in his national capacity, emphasizing the importance of ensuring a Libyan-led and Libyan owned political process as the only viable solution to the ongoing conflict. He welcomed the outcome of the Berlin Conference and commended the efforts of Germany, the United Nations and other relevant parties. Expressing hopes for maintaining and building upon the momentum gained, he called upon the international community to support the process. He went on to express support for the work of UNSMIL and regional organizations while also recognizing the important role of neighbouring countries. He also emphasized the importance of compliance with the arms embargo.

TAHER M. EL-SONNI (Libya) said there is anger among Libyans that their suffering has been met with silence or fine words as they face death and destruction. Attempts have also been made to place the aggressor and the oppressed on the same footing, he added. In 2011, when Libyans took to the streets to bring about revolution, he recalled, the Council adopted a Chapter VII resolution calling for the protection of civilians � a text that has been exploited to destroy the country, settle scores and line people’s pockets. The resilience seen in Tripoli is an expression of determination to uphold the revolutionary fervour against those oppressing people’s rights, he emphasized.

Noting that actions by meddling countries that fear Libya’s independence could play a pivotal role in economic and geopolitical terms, he said the meddlers are prepared to kill Libyan children in pursuit of their national interests. The Council bears a moral responsibility because many of the victims have been women and children, he said, noting that six Special Envoys have been appointed but there has been no change. For 10 months, the aggression has increased, yet the Council has been unable to end it, he added.

The Secretary-General’s report outlines the magnitude of crimes committed by General [Khalifa] Haftar and his supporting parties, who called for jihad against Tripoli, he continued, remarking: This is unprecedented. Noting that a national congress, supported by the Council, is days away, he pointed out that equipment and mercenaries have been procured from Chad, Sudan and elsewhere. General Haftar and his affiliated forces have carried out more than 1,000 air strikes, he said, adding that one day ago, four children were killed while at school.

Bombings continue to target hospitals and homes, yet the Council does not name and shame the perpetrators, he noted. Mr. Haftar’s militias are responsible for murder in the east � both flagrant and hidden � as well as for abductions, including that of a parliamentarian who has been missing for six months, he said. These are violations and crimes, he insisted, citing a report by the Panel of Experts describing the supply of drones and aerial support systems by the United Arab Emirates to one party to the conflict. Several Emirati companies are recruiting Sudanese youth and deploying them to Libya, he added. Are they not supporting a coup d’etat?, he asked. Referring to Egypt, he asked how a big brother can support those killing Arabs.

He went on to cite claims that recently discovered rockets were sent to Libya to support French special forces, asking whether the Council’s support was sought. The countries concerned should support peace, otherwise Libyans will not forgive the spilling of their blood, he warned. Stressing that Libya cannot accept a partial peace, he questioned the practical value of international efforts to monitor and follow up on violations if they amount to mere words. We are sick and tired of being the proxy battleground of the world, he stressed, highlighting instead the vital role of the African Union, which some seek to push out into the cold.

Expressing gratitude to Congo for hosting the African Union High-Level Summit, he also welcomed that country’s support for African solidarity in the drive towards reconciliation in Libya. He also welcomed the Russian-Turkish initiative to establish a ceasefire, urging the Russian Federation to continue that effort so that this initiative can go somewhere. He clarified that the aggressor committed violations after the Berlin Conference and refused to participate in the Joint Military Commission, signalling a lack of desire for peace.

Calling for the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections under United Nations auspices, he said that some often use the fight against terrorism as a pretext to justify their actions. Libya has always cooperated in that fight, he added, citing the liberation of Sirte from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) as an example. Armed groups are also a pretext used to justify the extension of external financial support, he said, while pointing out that some armed groups are tribal and others ideologically based. You can’t put them all in the same basket, he insisted. This is a conflict that will not be resolved through the imposition of a military government. Only the establishment of a legitimate Government will address all concerns, he added.

Wealth redistribution, another pretext, is mere propaganda since Libya ensures that State revenues are available to its people, he continued, pointing out that the parallel national bank printed 11 billion dinars outside State control, thereby undermining the State’s ability to boost revenues. Libya needs radical reform, a single central bank and several steps to fight corruption, he said, stressing that fair wealth distribution is guaranteed under a constitution that has been drawn up but is still in waiting since a referendum to embed it could not advance. Furthermore, the country rolled out a strategy for good governance within the civil service through the Libyan Investment Authority, he noted.

Turning to sanctions, he stressed that Libya does not wish to see the asset freeze lifted at this stage and calls instead for a slight easing of that measure to prevent annual losses amounting to tens of millions of dollars. The freezing of assets belonging to companies affiliated with the Libyan National Authority is a misstep that, hopefully, can be corrected, he said. Recalling that the country came close to achieving reconciliation, he said the battle being waged today is not between east and west, but one carried out by a single individual in his quest for power. He went on to put the international community on alert that Libya will reconcile, and with the rule of law in place, pursue those responsible for sowing discord.

Source: United Nations