SRSG Abdoulaye Bathily's opening remarks: Security Working Group for Libya

24 May 2023

SRSG Abdoulaye Bathily's opening remarks: Security Working Group for Libya

Excellencies, distinguished member of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC):

First, I would like to warmly welcome all of you to the Security Working Group meeting. I would like to convey my special thanks to Türkiye and other Co-Chairs for holding the Security Working Group meeting in Tripoli – on the Libyan soil – for the first time, and thank the 5+5 JMC and the Libyan authorities in Tripoli for the organization and for their warm welcome. I hope this meeting will be the first among a series of meetings that can be held in different regions of Libya.

This meeting is a continuation of our efforts to consolidate peace and stability in Libya and to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the reunification of the military and security institutions. I wish to acknowledge the collective efforts of the 5+5 JMC, which have strived to engage all key security and military actors to foster peace and stability in Libya.

The cumulative successes of meetings held with security and military actors in Tunis, Tripoli, Benghazi, and Sebha constitute an important step in supporting the national reconciliation process in the east, west, and south. This is an  evidence to the collective commitment to enhancing confidence among the military and security leaders. This will certainly contribute to advancing the political process and to creating a conducive environment for holding free and fair elections in 2023, with results accepted by all parties.

I would like to congratulate you for the progress you have made so far, especially in advancing dialogues on the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries.

I would also like to commend you for the spirit of patriotism and professionalism and that you have exhibited and your commitment to Libya’s national unity and territorial integrity. You have also shown that you are responsive to the aspirations of the Libyan people, who demand security, dignity, and democracy.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and our international partners are pleased to accompany you on this journey, and we will continue to offer our assistance and expertise to facilitate your tasks and to ensure that your voices are heard by all stakeholders including political leaders. I call on all leaders in the east, west, and south to support efforts to consolidate peace in Libya and to respect the outcomes of your dialogues.

As you are aware, Sudan, our brotherly neighbor, is facing a challenging situation that has resulted in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and significant displacement of civilians. The violence has spread to several cities and regions, beyond Khartoum. The conflict in Sudan poses a direct threat to Libya’s security and stability in the South, as well as to the region as a whole.

The Sudan crisis has already created a humanitarian emergency and affected the lives of people living along the border areas. It risks creating a security vacuum that could allow armed groups, terrorists, and criminals to operate freely and exploit the situation for their own interests. It could undermine the efforts of the international community to support peace and democracy in both Sudan and Libya. Therefore, I urge you to closely monitor the developments in Sudan and to take all necessary measures to prevent any spillover effects.

This is the time to express our solidarity with the Sudanese people, who are suffering from unsurmountable violence, and to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya is following the situation in Sudan with great concern, and we are coordinating with our colleagues in the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS) and other UN agencies to provide necessary support. We hope that Sudan can overcome this difficult period and restore peace and stability as soon as possible.

We are also aware that there are still many challenges and obstacles ahead for Libya, such as ensuring a safe and secure environment for the elections, addressing the issue of armed formations, advancing national reconciliation and transitional justice, and protecting human rights and international humanitarian law. These challenges require your collective action and leadership as well as coordination with other Libyan institutions and stakeholders.

I count on your cooperation in creating the necessary conditions for peace and stability in Libya that would also benefit the sub-region. I urge you to seize this opportunity to consolidate your achievements and to overcome your differences.

I urge the international community to support the efforts of the 5+5 JMC.

I look forward to fruitful discussions today, hopefully with concrete results to pave the way forward towards sustainable peace and stability in Libya.  

Before I conclude, I would like to thank once again the Libyan authorities for all its support to organize this Security Working Group meeting in Tripoli.

Thank You.