What's In Blue

Posted Thu 14 Dec 2017

Libya Presidential Statement

This afternoon (14 December), the Council is expected to adopt a presidential statement on Libya. The statement will emphasise that the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) is the only viable framework to end the Libyan political crisis.

When the LPA was adopted on 17 December 2015, it established a two-year transitional period. While Council members agree that this does not constitute a deadline for the implementation of the LPA, Khalifa Haftar, the head of the so-called Libyan National Army, has repeatedly threatened to take action to avoid an institutional vacuum after 17 December 2017. The presidential statement, drafted by the UK, constitutes an effort to avert military escalation at this critical time. In the statement, the Council “emphasises the continuity of the LPA throughout Libya’s transitional period and rejects incorrect deadlines that undermine the UN-facilitated political process”. The statement builds on press elements that were read by the Foreign Minister of Italy, Angelino Alfano, Council President, after a Council briefing and consultations on 16 November.

Council dynamics on Libya have not always been easy. Despite unanimous Council outcomes, its members have often had different sensitivities over the way forward to achieve a solution. It remains to be seen whether and to what extent recent outcomes, such as the endorsement of the UN Action Plan through a 10 October presidential statement and this afternoon’s decision, signal increased convergence among Council members. Negotiations of the presidential statement were smooth. At the request of several Council members, language was added on women’s participation, on the role played by Libyan leaders (in addition to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj), and on meetings in Cairo aimed at unifying and strengthening Libya’s armed forces under civilian oversight.

The statement strongly urges all Libyans to redouble efforts to work together in a spirit of compromise and to engage urgently and constructively in the inclusive political process. It reiterates the Council’s support for the implementation of the Action Plan for an inclusive, Libyan-owned process. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salamé has been working in parallel on:

  • brokering an agreement regarding a limited set of amendments to the LPA;
  • organising a national conference, now scheduled for February 2018;
  • encouraging progress toward finalising a new Libyan Constitution; and
  • preparing for the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections, including through UN support to the High National Elections Commission that recently launched a voter registration campaign.