General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Briefing on United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)

 

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

 

24 March 2021

 

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Thank you, Madam President. Let me begin by thanking Special Envoy Jan Kubis for his briefing. I also welcome the Ambassador of Libya Taher Elsonni to this meeting.

 

2. The developments in recent months towards implementation of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) Roadmap and the ceasefire agreement have heightened expectations, and rightly so, in Libya. The elections of the Presidency Council, Prime Minister and formation of a new cabinet, and the endorsement of the Government of National Unity (GNU) at the reunified session of the House of Representatives earlier this month in Sirte have the potential to turn a new page in the decade long conflict in Libya. We welcome these positive and encouraging developments.

 

3. It is encouraging to note that the Ceasefire Agreement has held by and large, even though the calls of this Council on withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries have not been heeded to. The newly formed Government of National Unity has enormous challenges ahead, including the convening of elections by the end of the year. Overall, the current situation provides reasons to be cautiously optimistic for Libya in the days ahead.

 

4. Ten years since the crisis in Libya started unfolding, we are now presented with a unique opportunity for the return of peace and stability to Libya in line with the aspirations and wishes of the Libyan people. The Council, therefore, has an important task to further advance the political process.

 

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

 

(i) One, we would like to reiterate that 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. The current pace of implementation of the LPDF road map must continue unhindered. It is pertinent to mention here that timely adoption of electoral legislations by the constitutional bodies in Libya is vital for the electoral process.  We look forward to working with other Council members and with Libya in ensuring that the elections are conducted smoothly, in a fair and transparent manner, by December 2021. The international community must be prepared to provide any assistance which Libya might need in the process.

 

(ii) Two, the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya needs to be safeguarded. The peace process, therefore, must be fully Libyan-led and Libyan-owned with no imposition or external interference.

 

 (iii) Three, the importance of the October 23 Ceasefire Agreement cannot be overstated. The international community and the Security Council should ensure its full implementation. India supports the role of the United Nations in implementing the Libyan Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism (LCMM) as requested by the Libyan parties. We have seen the report of the Secretary General on proposals for amending  UNSMIL’s mandate with regard to the Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism. We are currently studying the report, and will work with other Council members on the way forward.

 

(iv) Four, it is a matter of serious concern that despite the clear provisions in the Ceasefire Agreement, and repeated calls from this Council, foreign fighters and mercenaries continue to be present in Libyan territory. It is imperative that these fighters depart from Libya so that the peace process can move forward without external interference. We should not allow ‘spoilers’ – foreign countries that interfere as well as mercenaries and foreign fighters – to hinder the progress towards peace and stability in the country.

 

(v) Five, the report of the Panel of Experts makes it clear that the sanctions provisions are being violated blatantly, especially those related to the arms embargo. These violations pose serious threat to peace and stability in Libya. We have also expressed our strong concerns regarding news articles and speculations in the media reflecting some of the contents of the final report of the Panel of Experts on Libya. Such unauthorized disclosures undermine the credibility of the sanctions regime. This Council also needs to look at options to address the issue of management of frozen funds.

 

(vi) Six, we must ensure that terrorist forces and organisations are not allowed to rise again in Libya since this may lead to a cascading effect throughout the region. The international community must speak in one voice against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

 

Madam President,

 

6. India has enjoyed close and mutually beneficial relations with Libya driven by a significant contribution of India’s public and private sector companies to the Libyan economy, and the strong presence of Indian diaspora who have contributed to the Libyan society.  The steel plant, power stations, transmission lines and oil pipelines built by Indian companies are positively contributing to the Libyan economy to this day. The presence of Indian professionals in critical sectors like oil, steel manufacturing, education and health has helped the Libyan society and economy tide over the difficulties of international isolation in the past. We, therefore, wish to see peace and stability return to Libya. India remains committed to supporting Libya and the Libyan people in their endeavor to bring about lasting peace in the country. To this end, we look forward to working with the Government of National Unity for providing capacity building and training assistance to the Libyan government officials and people in mutually identified areas.

 

I thank you, Madam President.