What's In Blue

Posted Mon 14 Nov 2022

Libya: Briefing and Consultations

Tomorrow morning (15 November), the Security Council will convene for an open briefing on Libya. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Abdoulaye Bathily is the anticipated briefer. Closed consultations are scheduled to follow the open briefing.

Russia requested the meeting at the start of this month, following Council members’ consultations on November’s programme of work. In requesting the meeting, Russia apparently criticised the insistence of some Council members to hold monthly meetings on the Syria chemical weapons track, arguing that it is not an urgent issue. (It seems that Russia has been advocating decreasing the frequency of Council meetings on the Syria chemical weapons track, maintaining that there are not many developments to cover.) Russia apparently called on the Council to focus on other issues that it believes require constant attention, such as the situation in Libya.

Tomorrow will be Bathily’s second briefing to the Council in this capacity, following his briefing on 24 October (S/PV.9162). The Secretary-General announced the appointment of Bathily on 2 September, and he arrived in Tripoli on 14 October. (For more information, see our 21 October What’s in Blue story.)

On 28 October, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2656, extending UNSMIL’s mandate for one year, following five short-term extensions since September 2021. It also decided to revert to requesting the Secretary-General to report on UNSMIL’s activities every 60 days, instead of every 30 days as decided in resolution 2629 adopted in April. During the negotiations on resolution 2656 in October, Russia apparently expressed its preference for retaining a 30-day reporting cycle. (For more information, see our 27 October What’s in Blue story.) Following the adoption, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, and Kenya made separate statements, including to express support for the one-year mandate renewal (S/PV.9173).

At tomorrow’s meeting, Bathily may refer to some of the exchanges he has had since his last briefing to the Council. Bathily met with the President of Libya’s High Council of State Khaled Al-Mishri on 26 October and discussed “ways to address the current political impasse including efforts to establish a sound constitutional framework for holding inclusive national elections”, according to a 27 October tweet. On 27 October, he chaired a meeting of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission—which consists of five representatives each from the former Government of National Accord and the Libyan Arab Armed Forces—in Sirte. Bathily may also reference his 31 October meeting with Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS) Ahmed Aboul Gheit on the margins of the LAS Summit in Algiers, during which they discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the UN, the AU and the LAS to find a solution to the political impasse in Libya. Bathily also met with Presidential Council President Mohamed al-Menfi on 9 November to discuss ways to accelerate the organisation of elections.

Council members may be interested in hearing more about these and upcoming meetings, as well as further details about Bathily’s priority areas. In his 24 October briefing, Bathily emphasised the importance of holding legislative and presidential elections. In their statements tomorrow, members may reiterate the urgent need for a Libyan-led inclusive political process and the holding of elections.

Members may also be interested in any updates on the security situation. The protracted political stalemate continues to generate security threats, including fighting that erupted in Tripoli in late August. Bathily noted on 24 October that “while the ceasefire continues to hold, the security track needs to be reinvigorated”. He also referred to “reports of ongoing large-scale recruitment activities”. Some members may seek to highlight the deteriorating living conditions across the country and the human rights situation, including the situation of migrants.

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