SRSG Martin Kobler’s Statement to the Security Council on the Situation in Libya. 06 June 2016
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Statement of SRSG Martin Kobler to the Security Council
6 June 2016
Merci Monsieur le Président.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Monsieur le Président,
Membres distingués du Conseil,
Vous avez reçu le dernier rapport du Secrétaire Général sur les activités de la Mission d’appui des Nations Unies en Libye, qui détaille le travail effectué par la mission depuis le 26 février.
Ce rapport fait part des avancées politiques en Libye.
Il dépeint également une situation humanitaire tragique faite de drames personnels et de souffrances collectives.
Je commencerais donc en revenant sur la crise humanitaire et la tragédie humaine qui frappe la Libye.
You have received the latest report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which details the work of the Mission since the 26th of February.
This report details the political progresses in Libya.
It also depicts a tragic humanitarian situation of personal tragedies and collective suffering.
I will therefore start in stressing the humanitarian crisis and the human tragedy which hits Libya.
In the few weeks since the preparation of the report, over 6,000 families from Sirte alone have had to flee their homes to escape on-going clashes and military operations against Daesh, not to mention the day-to-day hardships of life under Daesh.
Many are sheltering in schools, universities and public buildings.
The number of displaced persons in Libya has reached a staggering 435,000.
The capacity of local communities and of aid agencies to host and provide assistance has been stretched to the breaking point.
In the month of May, 1,100 migrants tragically died in the central Mediterranean sea.
On a single day, 26 May, 500 migrants drowned off the coast of Libya, among them 40 children.
Migrant drownings increased more than 30% compared to the same period last year.
In a country rich with natural resources as Libya, it is unacceptable that the healthcare system is so thoroughly dilapidated.
So too the damage to vital infrastructure, the acute shortages in health workers, and essential medicines and supplies.
All this is the consequence of the continued lack of state authority in most parts of the country.
Next week marks six months since the December signing of the Libyan Political Agreement.
The signing was the first time that the Libyan people had dared believe again that peace and unity in Libya were attainable.
It was the first time they dared hope that guns, which had brought untold suffering and destruction upon their lives, could be finally silenced.
Armed with nothing but the legitimacy bestowed on them by the Libyan Political Agreement, seven courageous members of Libya’s Presidency Council took the bold step on 30 March to courageously cross the sea from Tunisia to Tripoli.
Still, the sense of hope and optimism with which people across Libya welcomed the signing of the Agreement and the arrival of the Presidency Council in Tripoli stands in contrast today to their sense of growing impatience and concern.
At this critical moment in Libya’s transition, facts must be acknowledged as they are.
It has been almost five months since the Presidency Council submitted a revised proposal for the Government of National Accord cabinet.
Today, Libya is still without a formally endorsed government.
The implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement has stalled, and it has stalled because some parties to the Agreement have failed to uphold their commitments.
The House of Representatives has an integral role to play in Libya’s democratic transition.
However, it must make progress in fulfilling its obligations under the Libyan Political Agreement to hold a vote on endorsing the Government of National Accord.
Given the scale of problems facing Libya’s population, the country must have a functioning government, ministries and bureaucracy.
The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation and escalating military tensions linked to the fight against Daesh require boldness, determination and decisiveness.
I wish to take this opportunity to commend the efforts of the Presidency Council over recent weeks to seize the initiative and exercise leadership.
It decided to establish a joint operations room to coordinate military operations against Daesh, and it instructed ministers to begin work pending their formal swearing-in. These are steps in the right direction.
Role of International Organisations
I welcome the League of Arab States declaration of May 28th which encouraged the acting Ministers of the Government of National Accord to work from Tripoli until the House of Representatives formally endorses the government.
The League of Arab States also recognised the GNA as the sole legitimate government for Libya, and called on member states to refrain from communicating with any other parallel executive bodies.
I also commend the efforts of the African Union and its High Representative for Libya, President Jakaya Kikwete.
The Council heard this morning a briefing of EU High Reprehensive and Vice President Federica Mogherini. The contributions of the European Union to peace, development and the fight against human trafficking are commendable and invaluable.
Six Point Proposal
There must be clear lines and principles if there is any hope for the Libyan people to exit from the current state of chaos that has engulfed their country.
As a matter of immediate priority I propose the following six points:
First, that the Libyan Political Agreement, endorsed by the House of Representatives on 25 January, remains the sole legitimate framework for managing the remainder of Libya’s political transition until a permanent constitution is adopted.
Second, that the House of Representatives remains the institution to endorse and swear in the Government of National Accord.
However, it must do so.
After two unsuccessful attempts in February and April, it is high time that the Speaker assumes his responsibilities to convene a parliamentary session free of intimidation and threat for a vote on the proposed Government of National Accord.
I also suggest that the House of Representatives requests the League of Arab States, the African Union, the United Nations and other members of the international community to attend this session as observers.
Third, it is vital that the Presidency Council works in its entirety, with all nine members.
I encourage the members who do not attend the meetings to re-join the Presidency Council.
Fourth, the Presidency Council will need to move quickly to meet the basic needs of the Libyan people.
Immediate steps are needed to ensure that shortages in cash availability, food and electricity are satisfactorily addressed without further delay.
The United Nations and its partners in the international community are ready to assist.
Fifth, that the Presidency Council is the sole legitimate recipient of international security assistance in its capacity as Supreme Commander of a united Libyan army.
Sixth, averting hostilities between different Libyan security actors involved in the fight against Daesh requires an inclusive interim security arrangement, including temporary command and control arrangements for the army.
There simply can be no half-solutions.
Distinguished Members of the Council,
There was considerable progress over the last days and weeks in the fight against Daesh.
I commend all those who fought against terrorism in all parts of the country, including in Benghazi and Derna.
I deplore the deaths of so many brave sons of Libya. Last week I visited Misrata and its hospital, with its wounded. I have seen first-hand the resolve and commitment to fight Daesh.
However, I am concerned about the military situation in the country. The oil crescent region has witnessed a build-up of military formations. Libyan army units have moved into the area from the East. Forces under the Presidency Council have been engaged in clashes with Daesh in areas west of Sirte.
However, uncoordinated military actions on the ground have raised the spectre of direct clashes between different forces fighting Daesh.
The possibility of renewed military escalation in Libya should be a matter of grave concern for all.
Libyans must not fight against each other.
They must fight united against their common enemy.
Our mission has been actively engaging with all sides to help build consensus around a unified security architecture, assisting the Presidency Council with expertise and good offices.
We must recognise, however, that Libya is a country awash with weapons – 20 million pieces of weaponry in a land of 6 million people.
These weapons do not fall from the sky, but come in increasingly through illegal shipments by sea and by land.
These arms fuel the conflict.
These shipments must end if there is to be any serious hope of bringing peace to Libya.
Weapons should only go to regular forces after approval by the Security Council sanctions committee.
The volatile situation in Libya is prone to lead to further war crimes.
All military actors in Libya must act within the bounds of international humanitarian law, and those who do not must be brought to account.
I recently visited the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, to express my support for the role that her office can play in the fight against impunity.
The work of the ICC is needed in Libya now more than ever.
I ask all Member States who share my concerns for the ongoing international crimes in Libya to provide the Office of the Prosecutor with all required information, but above all, with financial resources to prosecute new crimes.
UNSMILs Return to Libya
I would like to thank the Council for its close engagement on Libya and support for a political resolution there.
As the report before you shows, there is an urgent need for UNSMIL to re-establish its presence in Libya.
The establishment of regular UNSMIL flights to Tripoli has facilitated some direct contact with key partners.
However, such intervals of quick engagement is insufficient.
It is likely that the request for assistance will increase as ministries and bureaucracy become functional again.
It is essential that UNSMIL is on the ground and ready to meet the immediate needs and priorities of the Libyans.
Allow me to add few words in Arabic on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.
“Today is the first day of Ramadan, and I believe that this is a month of forgiveness and and I hope it will be a month of peace and reconciliation. Ramdan Mubarak.”
"اليوم هو اليوم الأول من رمضان وأنا أعتقد أن شهر رمضان هو شهر حوار وشهر تسامح وأتمنى أن يكون هذه السنة شهر سلام وحوار. رمضان مبارك لجميعكم وكل عام وأنتم والشعب الليبي بخير”