What's In Blue

Posted Wed 13 Mar 2013

Renewal of UN Mission in Libya and Panel of Experts

Tomorrow morning (14 March), the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for 12 months and the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee for 13 months. The adoption of the resolution will be followed by a public briefing by the Special Representative and Head of UNSMIL Tarek Mitri and Ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana (Rwanda), the Chair of the Libya Sanctions Committee. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is also expected to participate. The adoption and briefing will be followed by consultations on both the mission and Libya sanctions.

On 6 March, the UK, which is the lead country on Libya, circulated the draft resolution renewing UNSMIL’s mandate and that of the PoE. Two rounds of negotiations were held before the draft resolution was put under silence yesterday (12 March). However, it seems Russia broke silence this morning, offering an amendment which emphasised the negative impact of arms proliferation in the region. Following bilateral negotiations the draft resolution was put in blue this afternoon.

It seems that although there was an attempt by the UK to add language clarifying designation criteria for the asset freeze, others felt that the proposed language did not accurately reflect the agreed language of resolution 1973. (Apparently the UK was interested in doing this in order to address legal challenges by Libyan nationals living in the UK.) However it appears that the final draft does not make any reference to this issue.

While it appears that Council members have generally accepted many of the recommendations for UNSMIL’s mandate suggested by the Secretary-General in his recent report (S/2013/104), the recommendations from the PoE’s report on the asset freeze, travel ban and the arms embargo raised a number of issues for Council members. However, it seems that some of the recommendations were taken into account in the draft resolution. (The latest report by the PoE has not yet been published. The previous report [S/2012/163], dated 17 February 2012, was circulated on 20 March 2012.)

The final draft of the resolution includes language lifting the requirement that the Sanctions Committee approve the use of non-lethal military equipment and assistance in humanitarian or protective situations. It also removes the need for notification to the Committee of non-lethal military equipment being supplied to the Libyan government for security or disarmament assistance. The draft resolution also urges the government to improve the monitoring of arms supplied to Libya including through the issuance of end-user certificates.

While welcoming positive developments in Libya like the July 2012 elections, the draft resolution also expresses the Council’s concern about continuing reports of reprisals and arbitrary detentions, torture and extrajudicial executions and calls for the release and safe return of all foreign nationals illegally detained in Libya. In this context it seems that some Council members felt strongly about having more specific language about the government’s primary responsibility not just for the protection of Libya’s population but also its foreign nationals including African migrants.

In the consultations that will follow the public briefing, Council members might be interested in receiving an update from Mitri regarding the recent political developments in the country, including the decision of the General National Congress to endorse election as the process by which the members of the Constituent Assembly will be chosen. Council members might be interested in the work of UNSMIL in supporting the constitution-making process.

In addition, Council members might want to hear more about the measures taken by the Libyan government to address the “precarious security situation” described in the latest Secretary-General’s report.

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