What's In Blue

Posted Fri 18 May 2018

Libya Briefing and Consultations

On Monday (21 May), the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on the situation in Libya. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salamé is expected to brief via video teleconference. Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden) will also brief in his capacity as chair of the 1970 Sanctions Committee. Consultations are scheduled following the briefing. However, if all members decide to give their statements in public, consultations might be cancelled. No formal outcome is expected.

Salamé is likely to provide Council members with an update on the implementation of the UN Action Plan for Libya and the activities of UNSMIL in that regard. Council members may be interested in hearing about the current status of amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA)—which was designed to establish unified and legitimate institutions with the capacity to deliver basic services—and Salamé’s engagement in bringing together delegations appointed by the competing Tobruk-based House of Representatives and the Tripoli-based and UN-supported Presidency Council.

Addressing the security situation, Salamé is expected to give an update to the Council on the latest developments around Derna in northeast Libya, where General Khalifa Haftar’s forces are fighting an armed group for control of the city. Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army which is aligned with the House of Representatives, was hospitalized in Paris on 8 April. He returned to Libya on 26 April, appearing healthy, according to some accounts, despite rumours of his ill-health or demise. Increased fighting in recent weeks in the south of Libya, notably in the city of Sabha, may also be addressed during the meeting.

Council members might be interested in Salamé’s views on the current status of preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections, including with regard to security concerns and voter registration, among other issues. On 2 May, the High Commission for National Elections in Tripoli was attacked, resulting in more than 15 deaths. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack later that day. According to the latest report by the Secretary-General (S/2018/429), the voter registration update process concluded at the end of March 2018, with an additional one million voters registered. Nonetheless, as Salamé has stressed in the past, the report also reiterates the importance of a conducive environment for the holding of elections.

Salamé is expected to address the situation of migrants in the country. Migrants in Libya continue to suffer from human rights violations including unlawful deprivation of liberty, arbitrary detention and forced labour. These crimes are said to be committed by state officials, armed groups, smugglers, traffickers and criminal gangs.

The negative impact of the prolonged military and political conflict on the economic and humanitarian situation in Libya may also be raised in the meeting. The 2018 UN Libya Humanitarian Response Plan, totalling 313 million dollars, has so far only been funded at 13.9 percent, according to OCHA.

Skoog is expected to brief Council members on the activities of the Sanctions Committee. He will most likely note the expiration of the listing of two vessels on 18 and 29 April 2018, respectively.

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