What's In Blue

Posted Fri 6 Dec 2013

Consultations on Security Situation and Political Developments in Libya

Monday morning (9 December), 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 Eugène-Richard Gasana (Rwanda), and hold consultations on Libya sanctions. Although at press time no draft outcome had been circulated, some Council members may be interested in discussing the possibility of following up the discussions with a presidential statement.

Council members will be interested in Mitri’s assessment on the volatile security situation in Libya. Many militias have not accepted the authority of the state and assassinations targeting security and military officials, as well as citizens, appear to be on the increase in Benghazi. Two recent clashes are likely to be on Council members’ minds. On 15 November, Misrata militias attacked a demonstration in Tripoli calling for the implementation of a law stipulating that all armed groups must vacate the city. At least 40 people were killed and 500 were injured. Even though in late November, these armed groups started handing over their main bases in the capital to state authorities, Council members might want to get more clarity on where they have gone and the measures taken to ensure the 15 November incident will not be repeated. On 24 November there were clashes between the armed Salafi organisation, Ansar al-Sharia, and units of the Special Forces in Benghazi, which resulted in at least nine people dead, and demonstrations demanding the full departure of armed groups from cities throughout the country.

Council members might also be seeking clarity on a guard unit authorised through a recent exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the President of the Council. (This guard unit of up to 235 military personnel will be part of UNSMIL and is meant to protect UN premises in Tripoli, act as a deterrent against possible attacks by extremist elements and relocate UN personnel under imminent threat. Some Council members raised questions about the details of this guard unit, the kind of authorisation needed, its cost and specific tasks in a 26 November briefing on Libya under “any other business” (AOB) by João Honwana, Director of the Africa II Division at the Department of Political Affairs. Questions are likely about the current negotiations with Libya on the existing status-of-mission agreement for UNSMIL to deploy the unit.

Council members are likely to raise concerns over the increasing polarisation of the political debate in Libya. They may want to hear more about the actions undertaken by Mitri to facilitate the political process, including the two consultative meetings of Libyan stakeholders hosted by UNSMIL on 31 October and 30 November. These meetings are expected to lead to the development of a road map for the transitional process in order to break the current stalemate of the General National Congress (GNC) over issues such as restoration of oil production, the investigation into the kidnapping of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in October and the upcoming electoral and constitutional processes. Council members might also be interested in getting further clarification about the mandate of the GNC, which some in Libya believe is set to expire in February 2014. Questions about the timing and inclusiveness of the elections for the constitutional drafting assembly are also expected to be raised by Council members.

Following Mitri’s briefing under AOB on 4 November, which focused on the implementation of resolution 2017 and the measures taken to tackle arms proliferation, Mitri is expected to once again stress the financial support needed for the UN Mine Action Service to accomplish its objectives.

In his briefing to the Council, Ambassador Gasana is expected to provide an update on the work of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee. During consultations he is likely to raise issues of noncompliance with the sanctions regime by member states, as well as address misunderstandings in the notification criteria required by resolution 2095.

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Sign up for What's In Blue emails