What's In Blue

Posted Wed 14 Sep 2011

Libya Resolution

This afternoon (14 September) Council members will meet at expert level to discuss a draft resolution on Libya which was circulated by the UK yesterday. Earlier in the week, the permanent members discussed an initial text and it appears that the draft circulated yesterday has the agreement of the P5. It appears that some members are hoping that the Council will be able to adopt the resolution before the next Friends of Libya meeting currently scheduled for 20 September in New York.

It seems the draft resolution does the following:

– establishes the mandate for a UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for an initial period of three months;

– lifts the arms embargo for the protection of UN, humanitarian and diplomatic personnel and for security or disarmament assistance to the Libyan authorities;

– delists the Libyan National Oil Company and Zueitina Oil Company, requires frozen assets to remain frozen but allows for new transactions with listed entities and creates a new exemption for states to unfreeze funds for urgent humanitarian needs, institution building, and resumption of banking operations and international trade with Libya; and

– lifts the ban on flights on Libyan commercial aircrafts in order to facilitate normal economic activity.

It appears that the new mission’s mandate focuses on the priority areas outlined in the letter from the Secretary-General circulated on 7 September (S/2011/542). They include assistance in restoring security and order and promoting the rule of law; promoting reconciliation and embarking upon constitution-making and electoral processes; strengthening emerging accountable institutions and restoring public services; protecting human rights and supporting transitional justice; initiating economic recovery; and coordinating multilateral and bilateral support.

While there now appears to be P5 consensus on the text, it seems that during the discussions among the permanent members, the issue of the no-fly zone was one of the more contentious areas, with Russia wanting to lift it altogether. The compromise appears to be lifting the ban on Libyan commercial aircraft but keeping the other elements of the no-fly zone for the protection of civilians.

It is likely that some of the non-permanent members may have an issue with language related to the no-fly zone as well as with continued NATO involvement in Libya but it remains to be seen if they are willing to either vote against or abstain on this resolution as a result of their concerns.

It is also likely that some members that have not recognised the NTC may object to any language which could be interpreted as tantamount to recognition. In addition, regarding the unfreezing of assets, while the current draft puts in place some safeguards to try to mininise the misappropriation of funds, this may still be an issue of concern to some members warranting more in-depth discussion.

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