NEW YORK: The French foreign minister on Thursday reminded all those involved in the fragile political process in Libya that anyone who jeopardizes it could face international sanctions.
Jean-Yves Le Drian was presiding over a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the current state of Libya’s road map for resolving years of conflict.
A ceasefire agreement in October last year led to the formation of a transitional government and the scheduling of elections for December this year. But progress has faltered, with factions failing to agree a legal framework for the polls.
Real threats hang over the political process and must be dispelled, Le Drian said, and this must start with an agreement to respect the electoral calendar. He also reiterated that any group that that obstructs this process could face international reprisals.
“I recall that this council was clear in its Resolution 2571 that anyone who jeopardizes the political process may be designated for sanctions,” he said.
Le Drian also called for all foreign fighters to leave the country, as agreed in the ceasefire deal.
The UN’s special envoy to Libya, Jan Kubis, said many Libyan officials appear to be unready to commit to the agreed timetable for elections, and that some are employing tactics designed to obstruct efforts to organize a vote.
Speaking during the session, Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh said with the support of the UN, Libya’s security and economy have become more stable.
He said that the government formed a ministerial committee to support the upcoming elections on Dec. 24, and allocated the available funds to support the Electoral Commission, despite the lack of approval of the general budget by the House of Representatives. He said failure to adopt the budget impeded the government’s efforts to improve the living conditions of citizens, meet their urgent needs, especially humanitarian ones, and provide the appropriate environment for holding elections.
He added instructions were given to the Ministry of Interior to train 30,000 personnel to help secure polling stations throughout Libya, and to ensure the safety of voters, candidates and the entire electoral process.
We thank the UN for its engagement. International partnership is crucial as Libya rids itself of foreign mercenaries.
— عبدالحميد الدبيبة Abdulhamid AlDabaiba (@Dabaibahamid) July 15, 2021
Dbeibeh warned that the presence of mercenaries and foreign fighters on Libyan soil is one of the most important obstacles to stability, and appealed to the Security Council to continue efforts to confront the issue with full force and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya.
He said they pose a real danger to the current political process, the efforts to continue the cease-fire, and complete the unification of the military institution, and called for their swift removal.
He called on the international community to support Libya to unify the military and security institution, and to contribute to supporting a comprehensive security strategy, by implementing programs of demobilization, disarmament, reintegration, security sector reform, and border security.
Dbeibeh also said his government was continuing efforts to confront illegal immigrants, but added that the issue must be addressed as a global humanitarian one and cannot be the responsibility of specific countries alone.
He also called on the Security Council to review the sanctions imposed on Libya and to hold accountable those obstructing a political solution in the country.
In a joint statement following the high-level meeting, the 15 members of the Security Council urged the Libyan authorities, including the House of Representatives, to “immediately” agree on a constitutional basis for the elections and to give the High National Election Commission the time and resources it needs to prepare for voting day, in line with the road map developed by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. It also encouraged the forum to develop its proposals for a free, fair and inclusive electoral process.
The council urged all sides to fully implement the ceasefire agreement, and called on UN member states to comply with the arms embargo on Libya imposed by resolution 1970, and honor their commitment not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country.
Council members expressed “grave concerns” about the effects of the Libyan crisis spilling over into neighboring countries, particularly in the Sahel, through “the illicit transfer, accumulation (and) misuse of weapons and the flow of armed groups and mercenaries.”
During the meeting, they called for the immediate withdrawal from Libya of all foreign combatants and mercenaries. They also emphasized the need to plan for “the disarmament (and) reintegration of armed groups, security-sector reforms and the establishment of a unified, civilian-led security architecture for Libya as a whole.”
Members underscored the importance of ensuring that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws are held accountable.
They also reiterated their concerns about “the smuggling of migrants and refugees, and human trafficking through Libya” and “the dire situation faced by migrants, refugees and internally displaced people, including children” in the country.