What's In Blue

Posted Thu 15 Apr 2021

Libya: Vote on Two Draft Resolutions*

Tomorrow (16 April) at 3 pm, the Security Council president (Viet Nam) is expected to announce the result of the written voting procedure on two draft resolutions on Libya. The first addresses UN support for the Libyan ceasefire monitoring mechanism (LCMM) and the second renews the measures related to the illicit export of petroleum from Libya, which are due to expire on 30 April, and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, which expires on 15 May.

Voting on the first draft resolution began today (15 April) at 12:30 pm, to be concluded tomorrow (16 April) at 12:30 pm. Voting on the second draft resolution began today at 1:30 pm, to be concluded tomorrow at 1:30 pm.

Draft Resolution on the Libyan Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism

Background

On 23 October 2020, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (5+5 JMC)—consisting of five representatives each from the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF, also known as the Libyan National Army) and the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA)—signed a permanent ceasefire agreement, including a request for the Council to adopt a resolution supporting compliance of all national and international stakeholders with the agreement. The 5+5 JMC also expressed its intention to set up a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the agreement. A 29 December 2020 report by the Secretary-General (S/2020/1309) proposes ceasefire monitoring arrangements, as requested by the Council in resolutions 2510 of 12 February 2020 and 2542 of 15 September 2020.

On 4 February, the Council sent a letter to the Secretary-General (S/2021/110), conveying a request for an advance team to be deployed to Libya in support of the envisioned establishment of a ceasefire monitoring mechanism under the umbrella of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and for a report back on the team’s work. The Council received that report (S/2021/281) on 19 March, describing the proposed mechanism in more detail, as well as the tasks, areas of operation, security arrangements, logistical considerations, and prerequisites for the deployment of monitors that will be provided by UNSMIL.

In a 7 April letter to the Council (S/2021/353), the Secretary-General proposed a “phased deployment for the UNSMIL ceasefire monitoring component, which would require an initial maximum number of 60 monitors”. Conditions permitting, those UNSMIL monitors would be deployed to Sirte, and ahead of that, a “forward presence” would be sent to Tripoli. It seems that the forward presence would consist of five monitors, with up to 55 further monitors deployed following a recruitment process. Working with the monitors from the 5+5 JMC, the UNSMIL monitors would report to the Special Envoy and head of UNMSIL through UNSMIL’s Mission Coordinator. The budget for the UNSMIL monitors will have to be approved by the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly.

Draft Resolution

The draft resolution in blue recalls language from past Council outcomes on the political and security situation in Libya and refers to recent developments. In the draft text, the Council notes the need for the constitutional and legislative basis for the electoral process to be put in place by 1 July to permit adequate preparations for the 24 December parliamentary and presidential elections. The Council also “strongly urges” states to support and implement the 23 October ceasefire agreement, “including through the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay”.

Referring to the Secretary-General’s 7 April letter, the Council approves the proposal for UNSMIL to support the LCMM in the operative part of the resolution. The draft text in blue underlines that the 5+5 JMC needs to further develop a plan on how the LCMM will implement its mandate, including on the creation of conditions for the deployment of the UNSMIL ceasefire monitors. The Council requests that the Secretary-General update the Council on UNSMIL’s support for the election process and for the LCMM—including the criteria for the eventual departure of the international ceasefire monitors—in his regular reporting to the Council as well as in any additional reports. The draft text also asks the Secretary-General to “consult the Council on any increase to the initial maximum number of ceasefire monitors”. The Council, as stated in the draft in blue, will review progress made towards the implementation of the resolution ahead of 15 September, when UNSMIL’s current mandate expires.

Negotiations

It seems that the UK, the penholder on Libya, circulated a zero draft of the resolution on 8 April and Council members met virtually on 9 April for a read-through of the text. At the meeting, the UN Secretariat briefed Council members on the options for UNSMIL’s support to the LCMM. Council members submitted comments on the draft over the following weekend (10-11 April), and the UK circulated a revised version of the draft on 12 April. After Council members submitted additional comments, the UK put a further revised version of the text under silence on 13 April until the following day. China, Niger and Russia requested an extension of the silence procedure until today (15 April) at 10 am. The draft resolution passed silence and is now in blue.

It appears that the negotiations were held in a constructive atmosphere and no major issues arose. Some Council members suggested additional language to the zero draft of the resolution, including on women, peace and security; children and armed conflict; youth, peace and security; the role of regional organisations and neighbouring countries; reconciliation; terrorism; and disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration. The UK accommodated these suggestions.

It seems that China and Russia were not comfortable with a reference to the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya (FFM), established by the Human Rights Council (HRC), in the zero draft of the resolution. Other members appeared to have argued for even stronger language, including a reference to the mass graves discovered in June 2020 in and around the city of Tarhouna. The UK removed the reference to the HRC from the operative part of the draft text in blue, in which the Council now “[e]mphasises that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law must be held accountable”.

Draft Resolution on Sanctions

The draft resolution in blue renews the measures related to the illicit export of petroleum from Libya until 30 July 2022 and the mandate of the Panel of Experts until 15 August 2022. It also recalls recent developments in Libya.

It seems that the UK, the penholder on Libya, circulated a zero draft of the resolution on 8 April, and Council members met virtually on 9 April for a read-through of the text. Council members submitted further comments over the following weekend (10-11 April), and the UK circulated a revised version of the draft on 12 April, putting it under silence until 13 April. Silence was broken by Russia. On 15 April, a new draft was put in blue and voting started at 1:30 pm.

It seems that the UK had intended the resolution to be a straightforward renewal of the measures related to the illicit export of petroleum from Libya and the Panel of Experts’ mandate with no changes to its substance. It appears that the negotiations were not difficult, and no member opposed the renewal.

When Russia broke silence, it seems to have argued that language from previous resolutions referring to “parallel institutions” in their preambular part was no longer relevant, as Libyan institutions were now unified under the new Government of National Unity (GNU). The draft resolution in blue retains that reference, however. In addition, Russia appeared to have asked for an addition to an operative paragraph, specifying that spoilers to the elections foreseen by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum roadmap can be listed for targeted sanctions. The UK accepted this addition.

 

*Post-script: On 16 April, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2570, approving UN support for the Libyan Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism (LCMM). Also on 16 April, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2571, renewing the measures related to the illicit export of petroleum from Libya until 30 July 2022 and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee until 15 August 2022.