Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Libya

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
February 27, 2023


Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Special Representative Bathily, for your briefing on the situation in Libya.  We welcome your strong leadership, and we fully support the proposed elections-enabling mechanism as you outlined in your remarks.  The United States is 100 percent committed to helping you succeed.

The status quo in Libya is not stable, with heightened risks of partition, energy disruptions, further political strife, and violence.  The only viable path to a durable peace in Libya, is enabling the Libyan people to choose their own leaders in national elections.

We welcome the progress Libyans have made in the Egypt-hosted constitutional track, in which Libyan leaders resolved many issues needed to hold elections.  We thank the Government of Egypt for its efforts and important contributions to realizing our shared goal of holding presidential and parliamentary elections.  Now it is time to build on these achievements and move forward with a UN-facilitated effort to secure a broad political consensus and enable successful elections in Libya.

Full, unified support from this Council and other international stakeholders will be critical as Special Representative Bathily works to implement an elections-enabling mechanism.  Building political will among all of Libya’s leaders to make the hard decisions and move elections forward remains a challenge.

Now is the time to restore momentum.  The United States endorses action by Special Representative Bathily and UNSMIL to directly address the electoral process via a UN-facilitated elections-enabling mechanism that will secure resolution of the issues that stand in the way of elections in Libya.

The SRSG has outlined an inclusive process that keeps key institutions and leaders at the table – however, there is no room for spoilers seeking to thwart the will of the Libyan people.

The United States will continue to support the professional and impartial work of the High National Elections Commission.  We welcome UNSMIL’s technical assistance to the Commission and call on all Libyans to back it and conform to its directives.

Progress on the political track must be accompanied by progress on the economic and security tracks.  We believe that cooperation and compromise on one track will reinforce progress on the others, through confidence building and transparency.

The development of a revenue management mechanism and progress in reunifying Libya’s central bank will provide transparency and accountability, so that the people of Libya can see how Libya’s wealth is being spent.

The commitment to East-West security cooperation, perhaps through a joint unit, will be a welcome signal of progress and confirmation that the Libyan people can manage their own security.  Libyan calls for the departure of foreign fighters and mercenaries – these forces must withdraw from Libya immediately.  Wagner mercenaries are particularly problematic and must withdraw.

As we aim to make progress on these fronts, at the same time, the United States is deeply concerned by the plight of migrants in Libya.  We are saddened by the continued loss of life on the Mediterranean and appalled by the inhumane treatment of migrants detained in official and unofficial detention centers.  We call for respect for the human rights of migrants.  We support the continued work of the Commission of Inquiry and call on Libyan leaders to cooperate fully with it and with humanitarian organizations.

Special Representative Bathily, it is long past time for elections and an end to politics by force, graft, and coercion.  Libyans deserve to choose their own leaders in a government that leads to peace, stability, and prosperity.  The United States stands ready to support your UN leadership to help Libya achieve those goals.

Thank you, Madam President.