Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Libya

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
August 30, 2022


Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo, for your update on the current situation in Libya. Thank you also, Ambassador Kamboj, for your briefing. The United States welcomes your leadership of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee.

The violence that erupted in Tripoli Saturday and Sunday is the outcome of Libya’s political leaders’ abject failure to place the common good above their political interests and to work towards long-term peace and stability for the Libyan people.

For months now, inflammatory rhetoric and sporadic incidents of violence among militias, foreign fighters, and foreign forces have punctuated a tense and unsustainable status quo. We have seen on two occasions, first in May and now again last weekend, incendiary remarks and unilateral action escalate into open violence, with the latest incident claiming civilian lives and destroying homes and buildings.

The United States is deeply concerned by the continued belligerence of rival leaders, the continued maneuvering by militias for political and military advantage, and the continued flow of weapons and other military hardware into the country in contravention of the arms embargo.

The Libyan people are losing hope that Libya’s leaders can set aside personal ambition and achieve agreement on a constitutional framework for elections to allow Libyans their rightful opportunity to select their leaders peacefully. They are losing hope that their country can be free of corruption and foreign influence, that the armed forces can be unified, and that foreign fighters, forces, and mercenaries will be withdrawn. They are deprived of basic public services while the powerful cut deals to divvy up hydrocarbons revenues in accordance with their own interests, particularly to militias controlled by various factions, robbing the Libyan people of their national wealth. At the same time, economic opportunities for Libyans have decreased because of uncertainty about the future of Libya.

This ongoing instability is a reminder of the urgent need for the immediate appointment of a new UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya to resume mediation efforts, with unified support from the international community, including the members of this Council. UN leadership on the Libya file remains essential to reestablishing stability and achieving forward progress on the political process.

The United States will continue to fully support UN efforts to secure a constitutional framework for elections and a concrete timeline to election day. We reiterate that persons who obstruct or undermine the political process, and those providing support for armed groups or criminal networks, through the illicit exploitation of crude oil or any other natural resources in Libya may be subject to UN sanctions.

Under former Special Advisor Williams’ leadership, the delegations from the House of Representatives and High State Council made important progress on elections issues. We urge House of Representatives Speaker Agila Saleh and the President of the High State Council Khaled al Mishri to continue their efforts by engaging constructively with UNSMIL and the Special Representative, once appointed, to finalize the eligibility requirements for the candidates running in the presidential elections and commit to an election calendar.

Libya is on a precipice. We call on all parties in Libya to refrain from violence or from actions that will precipitate violence. We call on those who risk once again being dragged into violence to put down their arms. We call on those outside Libya who have encouraged violence through political, financial, and military support to cease their interference and respect the arms embargo. We call on all parties to turn away from the path to war and to work together towards peace and stability.

Thank you, Mr. President.