What's In Blue

Posted Wed 23 Dec 2015

Libya: Adoption of a Resolution Welcoming the Libyan Political Agreement

Today the Council is expected to adopt a resolution today welcoming the signing of the Libyan Political Agreement on 17 December in Skhirat, Morocco, and the formation of a nine-member Presidency Council. The Political Agreement was signed by delegates to the UN-facilitated political dialogue, including members of both the House of Representatives and the General National Congress, as well as Libyan political parties, civil society, municipalities and women’s groups.

The draft resolution calls on the Presidency Council to work to form a government within 30 days and to finalise interim security arrangements necessary for stabilising Libya. The P5 met to discuss the UK’s draft text on 17 December, and although the focus on the Syria negotiations late last week slowed down negotiations on the Libya draft resolution, it seems that by Monday (21 December) a P5-agreed text was circulated to the elected members. Following a read through of the draft text on Monday, members were asked to give comments by yesterday morning, and the draft resolution was put under silence, and then into blue in the evening.

It seems that the intent of the UK, the penholder on Libya, in proposing this draft resolution is to show support for the signing of the Political Agreement and to endorse the Rome Communiqué, which had been adopted on 13 December by member states—including the P5, some European countries and regional stakeholders such as Egypt and Turkey—following a high-level ministerial meeting on Libya. Those signing the Rome Communiqué pledged support for a government of national accord as the sole legitimate government of Libya and agreed to cease official contacts with individuals claiming to be part of institutions not validated by the Agreement.

The draft resolution is largely based on language in previous Council decisions, with some new language coming from the Rome Communiqué and Special Representative Martin Kobler’s recent statements. While Chapter VII is not specifically cited, the draft recalls the determination in resolution 2238 adopted on 10 September that the situation in Libya constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The negotiations among the P5 appear to have been relatively smooth, although initially Russia was apparently critical of the draft resolution trying to cover a wide range of issues, rather than simply endorsing the Political Agreement. It seems there may have been some differences over how directly to reference the idea of the Government of National Accord being the sole legitimate government of Libya. One way of addressing this issue may have been through the endorsement of the Rome Communiqué.

It appears there was interest during the P5 negotiations in strengthening the language on sanctions in relation to individuals engaging in, or providing support for acts that threaten the peace and stability of Libya or undermine the political transition. In this regard, the draft resolution references resolution 2213recalling the travel ban and assets freeze measures reaffirmed in that resolution. The draft resolution also requests that the Al Qaida/ISIL Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Sanctions Committee be prepared to list those in Libya affiliated with these terrorist groups. A 22 September 2015 report of the Monitoring Team of the 1267/1989 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee stated that ISIL has clearly demonstrated its intention to control additional territory in Libya, given the country’s strategic location as a transit point within the region. The report also highlighted that ISIL in Libya is the only affiliate that has benefited from support and guidance by ISIL’s core in Iraq and Syria.

Most of the elected members did not have any substantive edits to the draft text circulated on Monday, although a few would have liked more time to respond to the draft. There appears to have been at least one member who wanted to emphasise the importance of the inclusiveness of the Political Agreement. As a result, a new paragraph encouraging all parties in Libya to seize the opportunity to engage constructively with the government of National Accord was added. This point hints at the legitimacy issues that could arise given that the Political Agreement is not signed by all the relevant actors. In the near future, the Council may need to focus on how to bring on board those unwilling to sign the agreement, how to maintain the engagement of the parties in the process, and how to isolate spoilers actively undermining the process.

Another area that the Council may need to address more directly in the future is the role of the UN Support Mission in Libya in supporting the Government of National Accord in bringing military actors into the process, to address the implementation of the ceasefire and other security arrangements provided for in the agreement. The draft resolution does request the Secretary-General to continue to be flexible about adjusting UNSMIL staffing to support the implementation of agreements and confidence-building measures, which may result at some point in the need for a change in UNSMIL’s mandate. The draft resolution also requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of the Political Agreement.

The draft resolution provides member states that may which to assist the Government of National Accord with a mandate from the Council to do so. It specifically urges member states to assist the Government of National Accord with threats to Libyan security particularly in relation to defeating ISIL and groups related to ISIL, Ansar Al Sharia and Al-Qaida operating in Libya.