What's In Blue

Technical Rollover Resolution on the UN Mission in Libya

Tomorrow (15 March), the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a technical rollover resolution renewing until 15 June the current mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which is due to expire tomorrow. Council members met only once to discuss the draft, which passed through silence procedure on Saturday (12 March) and is now in blue.

The draft reiterates the Council’s support for the full implementation of the 17 December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement to form a Government of National Accord (GNA) consisting of a Presidency Council and Cabinet. The draft welcomes the endorsement in principle of the Agreement by the House of Representatives on 25 January, recognises the importance of continued inclusiveness and strongly encourages all parties in Libya to be part of and engage constructively in good faith with the Agreement.

Briefing the Council on 2 March, UNSMIL head Martin Kobler described how minorities in the House of Representatives and the General National Congress have prevented the establishment of the GNA, specifically addressing the threats and intimidation suffered by a majority of House members on 22 February, when they were prevented from officially endorsing the GNA. In the discussion following the briefing, it seems there were some differences among Council members over whether the House should be urged to officially endorse the GNA at this point. Following a 10 March statement by the Political Dialogue made up of the parties’ delegations to the peace process, , Council members issued a press statement today (14 March) noting that the Political Dialogue valued the declaration signed by a majority of House members announcing their support for the GNA. In this context, the draft in blue does not include language urging the House to officially endorse the GNA.

Council members have decided to extend UNSMIL’s mandate for three months following the recommendation of the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2016/182). According to the report, this period will allow UNSMIL to continue assisting the Presidency Council with the process of establishing the GNA, formulating its work plan and priorities, and putting in place the necessary security arrangements to facilitate its presence in Libya. Council members seem to be intending to adjust the mission’s mandate once a GNA is in place.

The draft resolution specifically states that the GNA should be based in Tripoli. Even though some Council members opposed this reference on the grounds that it is not for the Council to decide where the GNA should sit, this is consistent with previous Council statements and with the fact that the Presidency Council has already started developing security arrangements to ensure that the GNA can operate securely from Tripoli.

Following a request by Kobler, a needs assessment mission was deployed in January to evaluate the feasibility of UNSMIL’s return to Tripoli (UNSMIL has been operating from Tunis since July 2014). The mission concluded that such a move is contingent upon the establishment of the GNA in Tripoli and the authorisation to deploy a UN guard unit. In this context, the draft recognises the need for UNSMIL to re-establish its presence inside Libya, and requests the Secretary-General to report within 60 days following consultations with the Libyan authorities on recommendations for UNSMIL’s support to the subsequent phases of the Libyan transition process and UNSMIL’s security arrangements.

Looking ahead, the mandate of the 1970 Libya Panel of Experts expires on 30 April and is expected to be renewed at the end of this month.

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