General Assembly Security Council

UN Security Council Briefing and Consultations on UNSMIL

(28 January 2020, 1000 hours)

Remarks by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti,

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations


Mr. President,

Let me begin by extending our appreciation to Ms. Stephanie Williams for her untiring work as Acting SRSG and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), carried out under the most challenging and difficult circumstances. Our good wishes to her for her future endeavors. I also thank her for today’s briefing.

2. Libya is at a critical juncture, both in terms of political process and military conflict. It has been three months since the Ceasefire Agreement was signed between the Libyan parties in Geneva in October last year, which was welcomed by this Council; the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum has also made notable progress and has agreed on timelines for elections. We have also noted the progress made in the political and military track during last two months, including municipal elections, holding of constitutional committee meeting in Egypt, the progress in the Berlin process, agreement on a unified exchange rate and exchange of detainees.

3. India was a Member of the Security Council when resolutions 1970 and 1973 on Libya were adopted in 2011. We had then conveyed our reservations on the way these two resolutions were rushed in the Council. India had called for a calibrated and gradual approach and stressed on the importance of political efforts to address the situation. Ten years down, enduring peace still remains a dream in Libya and the Libyan people continue to bear the brunt of actions taken by this Council and the international community.

Mr. President,

4. The Council today has an important task cut out for itself – how do we support the ceasefire and what measures do we take to advance the political process that is currently underway and ensure lasting peace and stability in Libya.

5. In this context, let me underline the following observations:

  • One, it is evident that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Libya. This is very clear from the decade-long turmoil in the country. A peaceful settlement through inclusive and broad-based dialogue and consultations, taking into account the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all stakeholders in Libya, is the only way forward.
  • Two, the peace process should be fully Libyan-led and Libyan-owned, safeguarding the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya.
  • Three, it is also important that the international community and the Security Council fully support the efforts geared towards peace and stability in Libya and ensure full commitment to all aspects of the ceasefire agreement. In this regard, we have noted the report of the Secretary General of 29 December 2020 highlighting the requirements from the perspective of the UN for a Libyan Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism (LCMM) and have also heard the Special Representative on this topic. India supports the role of the United Nations in implementing the LCMM as requested by the Libyan parties. We will work with other Members of the Security Council in determining the best way to move this forward.
  • Four, a lasting ceasefire in Libya and lasting peace are not possible without strict compliance of the sanctions regime as well as the departure of foreign fighters from Libyan territory. We are well past the deadline of 90 days set by the Libyans themselves when they signed the Ceasefire Agreement for departure of all foreign fighters. The credibility of the sanctions regime depends on the strict compliance of its provisions. Blatant violations of the arms embargo are a serious threat to peace and stability in Libya and need to be condemned. This Council should also look at options to address the issue of management of frozen assets.
  • Five, we must also ensure that terrorist forces do not take advantage of the move for a peaceful, negotiated settlement. There are several forces within Libya which have the potential to spawn and strengthen terrorism and conflict in the region, especially in the Sahel. The international community must speak in one voice against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
  • Finally, while the political process and conduct of elections is the immediate goal for us, it is important to further note that sustainable peace and stability requires national reconciliation.  We should not lose sight of this larger goal in our desire to get a quick-fix solution to the crisis. The international community must be prepared to provide any assistance which Libya may ask for in this process. The ongoing selection mechanism to set up a temporary Executive Authority, must ensure genuine and true representation of the Libyan people, in order to take right decisions and measures for a credible electoral process. The timelines for elections are ambitious and achieving them will not be easy.

Mr. President,

6. It is indeed unfortunate that peace and stability has remained elusive in Libya primarily due to the interference of foreign countries and presence of foreign mercenaries and terrorist fighters. The opportunity that has been presented by the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement and the events in the aftermath need to be seized by the Libyan parties and we hope that the international community will render all support to them. This has also become relevant in the context of the Covid pandemic and related humanitarian issues.

7. India’s relations with Libya have always been close and mutually beneficial. Indian companies and Indian expatriates have had a large presence in Libya in the past, at times nearly 100,000. Indian public sector and private companies have contributed significantly to critical infrastructure projects, such as roads and highways, power plants and transmission lines in Libya. The presence of Indian professionals in the critical oil sector, steel manufacturing, as well as in the education and health sector helped the Libyan society and economy tide over the difficulties of international isolation in the past. The steel plant, power stations, transmission lines and oil pipelines built by Indian companies are positively contributing to the Libyan economy to this day.

8. India genuinely wishes to see enduring peace and stability return to the country. India remains committed to support to Libya and the Libyan people in this endeavor.

9. I thank you, Mr. President.