Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 19, 2020
Thank you so much, and special thanks to Stephanie, once again, for your exceptional work in leading the UN political process in Libya.
Since this Council last met on Libya in September, that work has borne considerable fruit. The Libyans have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire and come together to conduct the first round of the UN-facilitated Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.
We applaud the agreement by the LPDF representatives on a roadmap to hold national elections on December 24, 2021, which will enable all Libyans to choose their country’s leadership and direction. These developments demonstrate broad consensus among Libyans that an inclusive, negotiated political solution is the only means to end the conflict. They also validate the UN political process as the only viable way to achieve peace and national reconciliation.
In the last two weeks, a large and diverse group of Libyans met in Tunis for the LPDF. We would like to thank Tunisia for their facilitation efforts. These Libyans agreed on a pragmatic agenda that outlined parameters for achieving peace, including setting a date for national elections, the establishment of a new executive authority, agreement to unify key institutions, and enhanced support to the High National Election Commission.
We call on all members of this Council to adhere to their Berlin Process commitments, and genuinely and actively support the UN political process, especially as momentum remains on our side.
The Libyan announcement on a nationwide ceasefire served as a foundation for the LPDF. Yet successful implementation of the ceasefire depends on every member of our Council. We all agree on Libyan-led and Libyan-owned solutions. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to support the Libyans’ decision to stop the fighting and to do so on their own terms. An externally imposed alternative that aims to partition Libya and establish a long-term foreign military presence is utterly unacceptable.
The international community must honor the Libyan agreement that all mercenaries and foreign fighters depart Libya, and all military units and armed groups withdraw from lines of contact and return to their bases within 90 days of the October 23 ceasefire announcement. We welcome the Libyan Joint Military Commission’s recent meetings on Libyan soil – in Ghadames and at the new headquarters in Sirte to operationalize the ceasefire announcement.
The international community should also hold spoilers to Libya’s peace, security, and stability accountable. We must send a strong message that the international community will take meaningful action to end the culture of impunity in Libya that has fueled the conflict. Toward this goal, the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom, and Estonia, have nominated some of the most egregious abusers of human rights in Libya, including Mohammed al-Kani and the Kaniyat militia, to the UN Sanctions Committee.
The United States has, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for victims of atrocities through appropriate mechanisms. We welcome the creation of an international fact-finding mission to document atrocities and other human rights abuses in Libya. Accountability will help to promote justice for victims and help secure lasting peace.
We also support the National Oil Corporation as it fulfills its apolitical and technocratic mandate and resumes nationwide oil and gas sector operations. We commend the NOC’s steps to ensure full transparency of all revenues received. As Libyans seek to improve governance, it is shameful that certain Libyan and external actors have sought to politicize and undermine economic institutions, such as the Libyan Foreign Bank, and plunder these revenues. The leadership of the Libyan Foreign Bank must be clarified.
This Council has been clear that Libya’s wealth must be safeguarded for all Libyans, and we must redouble our efforts to ensure no funds are misappropriated or diverted during this very critical period.
The United States will remain keenly focused on this developing situation, and we will do our part in helping the Libyan people finally build a future based on peace and the opportunities that come with it.
Finally, at this consequential moment in the political process, it is critical to quickly fill the UN Special Envoy position with an individual who has a strong track record in negotiations. Nickolay Mladenov is the right choice for this role. We look forward to consulting with the Secretary-General and this Council on potential African candidates for the UNSMIL Coordinator position. We will continue to support Stephanie Williams in her incredible leadership role of UNSMIL until a new UN Special Envoy arrives, and we greatly appreciate her willingness to continue to extend as the UN works to fill this role.
Again, thank you, Stephanie. We really are very grateful for everything you’ve done for this Libyan-led process.