Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 19, 2020
Thank you so much, and it’s great to see you Stephanie and even better to be able to have the conversation with you this past week. So, thank you for your time and for the updates that you provided us today, and we wish you and the UNSMIL team best of luck on the ground there.
To begin today, I want to be clear about the following points: all actors involved in the conflict in Libya must immediately suspend military operations; they must halt the ongoing transfer of foreign military equipment and personnel to Libya, including, as the UK mentioned, Wagner Group mercenaries; and they must allow local health authorities to respond to the alarming health challenges posed by COVID-19.
Additionally, the Security Council must help Libya quickly find a political path to stability, facilitated by UNSMIL.
The United States opposes the LNA’s now more than year-long military offensive against Tripoli, and we strongly reject any unilateral moves to change Libya’s governing structures. There is only one legitimate path for Libyan leaders, and that is full buy-in to the UN-facilitated three-track process, which encompasses political, security, and economic reforms.
Any attempt to short-circuit this route would not only disregard existing Security Council resolutions; it would also shortchange the Libyan people. Libya’s future governance must be determined through a representative political process and – ultimately – Libyan-led and Libyan-owned elections.
The United States endorses that all member states must comply with the UN Libya arms embargo, as well as the ban on illicit oil exports and petroleum products. We are supportive of the EU’s Operation IRINI, which is aimed at enforcing the arms embargo, in accordance with Resolution 2292, including with aerial, satellite, and maritime assets. We urge member states to share information with the Libya Panel of Experts concerning potential arms embargo violations.
Finally, let me reiterate our strong support for the UN-facilitated dialogue to achieve a comprehensive political settlement for Libya. We urge both the GNA and the LNA representatives to return to ceasefire talks as agreed upon in Geneva earlier this year. Acting SRSG Williams and UNSMIL have our full support for carrying this urgent work forward.