Statement by Stephen Hickey, UK Political Coordinator at the UN, at the Security Council briefing on Libya
Thank you Mr President, and let me begin by thanking SRSG Salamé for his briefing and by reiterating the UK’s strong support for him and the work of all his team on the ground.
Mr President it’s clear that a military solution to Libya’s problems will not bring the long-term peace and stability that the country needs, and all Libyans must come together in a spirit of compromise and engage in the UN-led political process.
The United Kingdom fully supports the additional clarity that SRSG Salamé has provided on next steps in implementing his Action Plan of September 2017. A Libyan-led, Libyan-owned national conference will provide an opportunity to forge greater consensus among Libyan stakeholders on the way forward on some of the key questions relating to Libya’s political transition.
Let me highlight three important building blocks to help make the Libyan National Conference a success:
First, as SRSG Salamé has said, participants in the National Conference should be drawn from as broad a political, regional, tribal and ethnic spectrum as possible. It will also be vital for women to be represented.
Second, Libya’s political institutions will need to work with the National Conference and take account of its outcomes. This will signal that they have the best interests of the Libyan people at heart and that they are committed to finding a durable political solution to Libya’s crisis.
The Libyan people will not understand if those institutions continue to fail to do what has been asked of them. And it’s vital that Libya’s institutions deliver the essential public services across the country for the good of the Libyan people.
Third, it is essential that the international community and this Security Council now supports SRSG Salamé and the UN Action Plan. The Italian-hosted conference in Palermo will be an important opportunity to demonstrate wider international and Libyan support for the UN-led effort, including the National Conference.
And it will also offer the chance to secure important commitments from the Libyans in terms of economic reform and the establishment of more sustainable and credible security arrangements. We also look forward to seeing the Libyan delegations at Palermo that are inclusive and representative of the Libyan people.
To this end, we congratulate the Presidency Council on establishing Women’s Empowerment Units in the Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord Ministries. These units should now be given the authority and resources that they need to be effective.
Mr President, SRSG Salamé touched on the challenging security situation in Libya. We welcome the progress on security arrangements in Tripoli since the ceasefire in September, and we thank SRSG Salamé for his efforts in securing this ceasefire.
These arrangements should not just be limited to the capital; a sustainable security architecture across the country is necessary for a secure and stable Libya. The United Kingdom continues to recognize the importance of tackling terrorist threats in Libya.
We again express our deep concern at the humanitarian situation, including in Derna, and recall the urgent need for humanitarian access to the civilian population. Those who violate international humanitarian law will be held to account.
On the economy, the recently introduced transaction fee on foreign exchange in Libya must now pave the way for wider work on economic reform. We must all support the work of UNSMIL and the International Financial Institutions to put in place further reforms. We also welcome the progress made towards an audit of the central bank of Libya. This should take place in parallel with work to reunify the Central Bank of Libya and the Central Bank of Libya in the east.
Finally, we welcome the Sanction Committee’s recent visit to Tripoli which enabled the Committee to understand the dynamics in Libya better. We look forward to seeing how this will translate into even more targeted and effective sanctions against the spoilers. We call on the Libyan authorities to do more to ensure sanctions are implemented effectively.
Finally Mr President, SRSG Salamé told us that Libya was fast becoming the tragedy of lost opportunity. The United Kingdom calls on all parties in Libya and members of this Council to get behind the UN’s efforts to ensure that we seize this opportunity for an inclusive political solution.