What's In Blue

Posted Mon 17 Jun 2013

Briefing and Consultations on Libya Mission and Sanctions

Tomorrow morning (18 June), the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing by Tarek Mitri, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), followed by consultations. The Council will also receive the periodic briefing by the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Eugéne-Richard Gasana (Rwanda), and hold consultations on Libya sanctions. No Council action is planned at this stage.

Council members are likely to be interested in hearing about the adoption, on 5 May, of the “political isolation” law, which precludes officials of the former Muammar Qaddafi regime from holding leadership positions in the government, the parliament and other institutions (including the judiciary and the media). Although the full impact of the adoption of the law is still unclear, there are already signs of its potential effect. On 28 May the President of the General National Congress (GNC), Mohammed Magariaf, who was a diplomat during the Qaddafi regime until his defection in the 1980s, resigned in a televised speech to the GNC. Council members might be interested in the implication of such a move given UNSMIL’s mandate to support the efforts of national authorities by providing technical advice and assistance during the ongoing democratic transition and constitution-drafting processes.

In addition Council members might want to hear more about growing regional tensions in Libya, following the 1 June declaration of independence of Cyrenaica from the central government by the Cyrenaica Council, a political party in eastern Libya.
Also of interest to Council members tomorrow will be Mitri’s assessment of the security situation in Libya. In recent months, the discussions around the political isolation law have prompted violent demonstrations and attacks that have polarised even further an already fragile security climate in Libya. On 9 June, hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Libya Shield brigade in Benghazi, demanding the militia lay down its arms. Following violent clashes between demonstrators and militiamen that took 31 lives, Libyan Army Chief of Staff Major General Youssef al-Mangoush resigned on 10 June. Most recently, on 15 June, six Special Forces soldiers were killed and a few injured in clashes with armed protesters in Benghazi. In addition to this, there are a growing number of reports about the presence of Al-Qaida-affiliated groups in Libya, following the ejection of these groups from Mali.

Since the adoption of resolutions 1970 and 1973 in 2011, Council members have continued to have differences over how to interpret developments in Libya. Some members may choose to link on the current deterioration of the security conditions, the fragility of the political transition and the weakness of the government with how resolutions 1970 and 1973 were implemented. By contrast, other Council members are more likely to showcase the positive developments that have taken place since the end of the revolution.

In a separate session Ambassador Gasana is expected to brief the Council on the work of the 1970 Sanctions Committee. The sanctions regime was modified in resolution 2095 removing the requirement that the Sanctions Committee approve the use of non-lethal military equipment and assistance for humanitarian or protective use. It also removed the need to notify the Committee about non-lethal military equipment being supplied to the government for security or disarmament assistance. The resolution also urged the government to improve the monitoring of arms supplied to Libya, including through the issuance of end-user certificates. Even though the Panel of Experts (PoE) was only constituted in early May, Gasana is likely to brief the Council on a meeting the Committee held after the PoE returned from a field visit to Mali and Libya. Gasana is also expected to brief on the implementation of the recommendations in the final report of the PoE (S/2013/99), such as the institutionalisation of a focal point structure within the Libyan government through which all security assistance procurement should be channeled.

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