Opening Remarks of SRSG Martin Kobler to the 5h Meeting of the International Contact Group for Libya

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29 Jan 2016

Opening Remarks of SRSG Martin Kobler to the 5h Meeting of the International Contact Group for Libya

28 January 2016

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to co-chair the 5th meeting of the International Contact Group for Libya with my friend, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui.

I would like to thank Ambassador Chergui and the AU for their continuous efforts and initiative. The International Contact Group is not only testament to the AU’s dedication to peace and security in the continent, but also to UN-AU cooperation on the matter.

This is my first opportunity to attend the International Contact Group since my appointment and I look forward to working closely with you to revitalize and strengthen our collective engagement for Libya’s peace, security and prosperity.

Our meeting today comes at a time when Libya is at a new critical juncture.

It is almost over a year since the launch of the Libyan political dialogue, a process that has seen much trials and tribulations, but that has come a long way in forging a middle ground that safeguards Libya’s unity and higher national interests.

The signature of the Libyan Political Agreement on 17 December was a landmark event and testament to the dedication, determination and commitment of all those who took part in that process.

A broad range of participants from across the political spectrum and the various tracks of the Libyan political dialogue attended the signature and demonstrated their commitment to the peace, security and prosperity of Libya.

The signature was also met with extensive international participation and the strong messages of support from the international community, regional organizations and Libya’s neighbours.

The African Union played an important role in the preparation of the Libyan Political Agreement, in particular during the Ministerial Meeting in Rome on 13 December, which paved the way towards a rapid signature in Skhirat.

This international support was further demonstrated through the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2259, which reassured the Libyan people and Libyan political actors that there is international consensus on ending the conflict in their country. It also stressed the strong international support for Libya, for the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement and for the swift formation of Government of National Accord.

The active engagement and support of the African Union and Libya’s neighbours will continue to be critical as we move ahead with the very difficult work in implementing the agreement.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since assuming my duties, I have continued to meet and engage with Libyan stakeholders both inside and outside the country. On 17 January, during my most recent visit to al- Baida, I met with the President of the House of Representative’s Mr Agila Saleh and members of the House of Representatives to discuss political developments relating to GNA formation and challenges faced in the process. In early January, I met the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Agila Saleh, in al-Baida and the President of the General National Congress, Mr Abu Sahmein in Tripoli. During this visit I agreed with the HoR President on five principles:

First: the HoR President accepted the Libyan Political Agreement and the nine members of the Presidency Council. Second, there will be no parallel processes to the implementation of the LPA. Third, the political process will continue to be inclusive. Fourth, there will be a peaceful transition of power. Fifth and finally, the political process remains Libyan-owned and Libyan-led.

These five principles are based on UNSCR 2259. They continue my and our guidelines in the weeks and months ahead.

I continue to meet frequently with Prime Minister Serraj and the members of the Presidency Council.

Shortly after signature of the Libyan Political Agreement, the Presidency Council took its first steps to fulfil its role in accordance with the Libyan Political Agreement despite various challenges. The Presidency Council met for the first time in its entirety on 3 January and it has been actively engaged since then.

I am encouraged by their determination and the progress of their efforts to date, despite various challenges, on the implementation of the Agreement including GNA formation and the appointment of a Temporary Security Committee.

It is my and our task to constructively accompany this process, to assist, not to intervene and to respect Libyan ownership. I took the liberty, however to publicly request a 30% quota for women in the Government of National Accord – a recommendation that was not followed, much to my disappointment and the disappointment of the women’s organizations of Libya. I do hope that the Presidency Council will now consider this recommendation more favourably when drafting the new list of ministers.

The House of Representatives’ endorsement of the Libyan Political Agreement on 25 January, in principle, is an encouraging and a positive development. The onus is now on the Presidency Council and HoR to take the necessary decisions for a swift formation of the GNA. UNSMIL will continue to facilitate and consult with all parties to find consensual solutions to outstanding issues and reservations.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I also share the fears and concerns of Libya and its neighbours regarding the growing terrorist activity in the country.

The day following the first meeting of the complete Presidency Council, on 4 January, a series of violent attacks on oil installations in Sidra and Ras Lanuf demonstrated the extent of the threat posed by Daesh and other extremist organisations, which continue to expand their areas of operation in the country. On 7 January, a truck laden with explosives detonated at a coast guard training centre in Zliten in western Libya. Over 50 people were killed and 127 injured in the attack. Daesh-affiliated militants claimed responsibility. The increasing terrorist activity in Libya threatens to drag the country further into chaos. This is particularly worrisome in the south of Libya, where criminality and lawlessness have reached endemic levels.

In particular the bridgeheads of Daesh in southern Libya must be a matter of great concern to Libya’s southern neighbours, Chad and Niger.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is critical that we help the Presidency Council move forward with the implementation of the agreement and to form a Government of National Accord that can unify Libya’s institutions, consolidate a collective effort to effectively confront the scourge of Daesh and other extremists, and to restore Libya’s transition back on the road to peace, security and prosperity.

We have a challenging task ahead of us and our efforts must be coordinated and reinforcing. The International Contact Group for Libya provides a platform to strengthen and harmonize our engagement on Libya, while strengthening Libyan ownership.

From this platform, I wish reiterate that the United Nations will remain steadfast in its support for the Libyan people and committed to Libya’s national unity, independence and territorial integrity.

I welcome the convening of the fifth meeting of the ICG for Libya and I look forward to our discussions.

Thank you.