Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Libya

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
March 16, 2022


Thank you, Mr. President and thank you, Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo, Ambassador Tirumurti, and Dr. Shaiter for your briefings today.

Clearly, the current situation in Libya is deeply concerning. Multiple actors, whose political legitimacy is in question, are vying for control of the government, raising the risk of escalating violence and further delaying the prospect for presidential and parliamentary elections.

The Libyan people have been clear that what they demand are elections – not continued delays or endless arguments among elites and the well-armed. Nearly 3 million Libyans clearly conveyed this demand by registering to vote and they are waiting for their leaders to deliver on their promise to hold elections.

Free and fair elections are the sole path to stability and prosperity for the Libyan people, and we have an obligation to support the Libyan people’s desire for elections. We support the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser Stephanie Williams to generate dialogue among key political actors that leads to rapid agreement on a consensual and constitutional basis for holding genuinely free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible. We strongly urge the House of Representatives and High State Council to participate in the UN-facilitated dialogue.

We also encourage, and will materially aid, continued efforts by UNSMIL to support the admirable work of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) to prepare for eventual elections and deliver a free and fair voting process. Elections absent these conditions risk exacerbating the conflict.

We call on all parties to refrain from violence and take part in negotiations to deescalate current tensions. We reiterate our reminder to those who obstruct or undermine the successful completion of Libya’s political transition that such activities may lead to designation by this Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee in accordance with Resolution 2571 and other relevant Council resolutions.

We are concerned about the Libya Panel of Experts’ findings in its mid-term report of an “emerging pattern” of individuals being targeted who were preparing to be candidates in or were actively promoting the December 24 elections. We encourage the Panel to continue to monitor efforts to derail elections and welcome recommendations on how to deter such action more effectively.

The United States strongly supports the full implementation of the arms embargo. I want to reiterate that the United States opposes all military escalation and foreign military interventions in Libya, including through proxies and mercenaries.

Foreign actors exploiting the conflict pose grave threats to regional stability and global commerce. The continuing presence of Private Military Companies supporting both sides is deeply concerning. This is especially the case for Russian Wagner forces, whose destabilizing role has now taken on a dangerous regional dimension.

The United States remains encouraged by the steady progress of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission as it implements its comprehensive Action Plan for the withdrawal of the armed groups. Challenges on the political track should not be allowed to spill over into the military domain and impede the substantial progress that has been achieved.

We call on all parties, Libyan or international, to refrain from politicizing or interfering in the work of Libyan sovereign institutions. We welcome the progress on the unification of the Central Bank of Libya and the spirit of cooperation that has animated that process. We likewise call for continued respect for the integrity and independence of the National Oil Corporation. We also share our concern over the closure of airspace to domestic air travel and, in the interest of preventing division, call for an immediate resumption of flights.

We are looking forward to close cooperation with the United Kingdom as penholder and other Council members on the resolution renewing UNSMIL’s mandate. It is past time that we adopt a comprehensive mandate that gives UNSMIL the strongest foundation for its future work.

Thank you, Mr. President.