Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Libya

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April 18, 2023


We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and Head of UNSMIL A.Bathily for the briefing. We also thank the Permanent Representative of Japan, Ambassador Ishikane, for providing a report on the activity of UNSC Sanctions Committee 1970.

We follow the developments in Libya with unflagging attention. Ensuring normalization, stability and security throughout the country is crucial not only for Libya and its people, but also for achieving stability and development in the entire North Africa. The main task at this stage is to promote a just, lasting, and reliable settlement within the Libyan-owned and Libyan-led political process, free from external interference.

The cornerstone of this process is the convening of general presidential and parliamentary elections. We hope that the previously announced intention of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to finalize the legal basis for the upcoming vote will be fulfilled in time, i.e. by June this year. We welcome steps that are being made for that purpose, including the endorsement of a renewed Constitutional Declaration and establishment of a Joint 6+6 Committee.

We call on the Libyan leaders to remain committed to a reasonable compromise. We underscore that the whole range of Libyan political forces, including representatives of former authorities, need to take part in the electoral process on a non-discriminatory basis. Only in this case the results of the vote can  have public acceptance, and further dangerous escalation of the military-political situation can be avoided. Success of the national reconciliation is conditional on the same principle. In this context, we welcome the efforts of the African Union to convene a nationwide Libyan conference to that end.

No less important is the interaction at the security track. We welcome the results of the recent meeting of the Joint Military Commission (JMC) in the 5+5 format in Benghazi, where the participants reiterated their readiness to provide all possible support to security of the future vote. Besides, we note the need to intensify efforts and create conditions to integrate the disparate military components of the country into a unified Libyan army. To achieve this, it will take much energy and a great political will.

We welcome the continuing efforts aimed at ridding Libya of foreign military presence and the establishment of sub-committees for liaison with Libya’s neighbors under the JMC aegis. Our position on this matter remains unchanged. We stand for a synchronized, well-balanced, systematic and step-by-step withdrawal of all non-Libyan armed groups and military units, in order to keep the balance on the ground.

We specifically underscore the importance of coordinating the faithful and consolidated efforts of the global community aimed at overcoming the protracted Libyan conflict. The role of the United Nations and UNSMIL as its key instrument is important today as never before for the resolution of the crisis. We reiterate our support for SRSG Bathily and the tireless efforts that he makes when searching for agreeable solutions and ways out of the internal political deadlock in Libya, as well as his role in boosting the political dialogue and facilitating the inclusive, representative, and transparent elections.

At the same time, we are convinced that Libyan political process must not become an arena for international competition. The people of Libya need this settlement to terminate the crisis that NATO’s aggression provoked back in 2011, and to put an end to all sorts of external interference. That is why we regard all unilateral initiatives that seek to launch parallel formats to support the settlement process (which, however, offer no part to either Libya or other stakeholders) as counter-productive.

Unfortunately, shortsighted policies of some international actors, who claim committed to the political process, but in reality make use of the Libyan instability for their own goals do not help the case. The energy factor is not the last to come to mind in this regard. We are convinced that all issues related to control of the oil infrastructure and export operations should be in the Libyan ownership. The issue of frozen Libyan assets (that should be used to the benefit of the Libyan nation in the future) needs to be addressed in the same fashion. The key stakeholders must not have any hidden agenda here.

We remind that both the proceeds from the export of hydrocarbons and the frozen assets are meant to become the material basis for Libya’s economic recovery and betterment of people’s lives. This is the standpoint that we call our UNSC colleagues to be guided by when approaching the Libyan settlement.

Thank you.

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