What's In Blue

Posted Wed 30 Mar 2016

Adoption of a Resolution on Libya Sanctions

Tomorrow (31 March), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee until 31 July 2017. The draft resolution also extends until the same date the measures imposed by resolution 2146 addressing the illicit exports of crude oil from Libya. (The arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze on Libya do not have sunset clauses, thus the measures on illicit exports of crude oil are the only ones that need to be extended yearly through a resolution.) The draft was circulated by the UK on 24 March and Council members met twice to negotiate the text, which was put in blue this morning.

The draft in blue does not significantly modify the sanctions regime or its legal obligations. However, it includes some requests specifically addressed to the Government of National Accord (GNA), as well as some of the recommendations of the Panel of Experts in its final report (S/2016/209). The draft requests the GNA to notify the 1970 Committee following the appointment of two focal points, one responsible for communication with the Committee with respect to the measures on illicit exports of crude oil, and the other to provide information related to the arms embargo, such as the structure of the security forces under the GNA’s control, the infrastructure for safe storage, registration, maintenance and distribution of military equipment by the GNA security forces, and training needs.

The draft extends the Panel’s mandate for 16 months. In its final report, the Panel recommended extending its mandate for 18 months, highlighting how the experts’ 12-month contracts allowed for only 7 months of investigations, due to the time consumed by the processes of onboarding, induction and travel arrangements, and the time required for the translation of the Panel’s two reports.

Despite the Panel’s call for the Council to explicitly allow and encourage the reinvestment of assets frozen under the measures, in order to protect the value of investments of designated individuals and entities, the draft merely reaffirms its intention to ensure that the frozen assets shall be made available to the Libyan people at a later stage. The draft takes note of a 21 March letter supporting this recommendation from Libyan Permanent Representative Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (S/2016/275), and contains language affirming the Council’s readiness to consider changes to the asset freeze at the request of the GNA when appropriate.

It seems that while there was general agreement on most of the text, there were some issues raised during the negotiation process. Egypt warned against taking for granted that a GNA exists already in Libya, highlighting how it has not yet been formally established. It seems that other Council members shared this concern, but two permanent Council members opposed including references hinting that the GNA is not yet operational, claiming that this would undermine the resolution. In this context, the draft reiterates the Council’s support to the GNA in the already agreed language of resolution 2259 of 23 December 2015. Egypt also proposed the inclusion of language regarding the Council’s readiness to incorporate changes specifically to the arms embargo when appropriate.

Language reiterating the Council’s request that all member states fully support the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the UN Support Mission in Libya in developing a coordinated package of support to build the capacity of the GNA was added in the negotiation process.

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