Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a Security Council Briefing on Libya

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 21, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. And let me start and thank the Special Envoy, Special Envoy Kubis, for your briefing today. I’d also like to thank the Ambassador for India for your briefing, and welcome the Libyan PR for joining us, as well.

Just over a month ago, this Council unanimously adopted Security Council Resolution 2570 and renewed the mandate of the Libya sanctions regime in Resolution 2571. We made it clear that free and fair elections must be held on December 24, 2021. Anyone who obstructs or undermines the elections planned for in the Libya Political Dialogue Forum roadmap may be subject to sanctions.

And in the meantime, it’s critical that we protect human rights and combat corruption in Libya. For their part, the Libyan people have made tremendous progress toward national reconciliation. Now, they want elections. So, it’s time for the Libyan leadership to clarify the constitutional basis for the election, pass the required legislation, and ensure elections are not delayed. As Special Envoy Kubis and others have said, that progress has to happen by July 1.

Additionally, the October 23 ceasefire agreement must be fully implemented. The Security Council has issued statements supporting the ceasefire, and unanimously confirmed and reaffirmed its parameters in April. The United States fully supports the terms of the ceasefire. To that end, all external actors involved in the conflict must cease their military interference and begin to withdraw from Libya immediately. There is no room for interpretation here. All means all.

Further, all external military support inconsistent with the UN arms embargo must end. No more training and financing of mercenaries, proxy forces, and armed groups. The recent violent instability in Chad underscores the dangers of foreign mercenaries. They cannot remain in Libya. We also fully support the continuation of Operation Irini. A sovereign Libyan government, empowered through national elections, will be able to determine the best range of partners for future security cooperation relationships. Resolution 2570 requests UNSMIL’s continued support for the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned ceasefire monitoring mechanism.

We urge the UN to identify all necessary and appropriate means to fully support the Joint Military Commission’s efforts. We are encouraged by the JMC continuing to develop its plans for the ceasefire monitoring mechanism – in consultation with UNSMIL – including the deployment of a small number of observers. We also support the investigation of the International Criminal Court into the situation in Libya. Those who are subject to arrest warrants by the ICC for charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity must face justice – including former senior officials of the Qadhafi regime.

Finally, it’s time for the leadership of Libya to unify the budget, build anti-corruption institutions, and include Libyan civil society and women leaders in the political process. Libya needs a unified budget to provide for the needs of the Libyan people. And the government needs to implement transparency measures to reach a lasting agreement on the management of oil revenues. In polls, Libyans consistently point to corruption as a deep-rooted problem that must be overcome for Libya to prosper. The GNU needs to build institutions that will counter the scourge of corruption – and take control away from militias who have abused their positions for personal gain.

The Council has an obligation to support the construction of sovereign institutions that are transparent, technocratic, and apolitical, and to punish those who engage in corruption. And as these institutions and others develop in Libya, civil society and women leaders must be included. Their inclusion will help foster peace, ensure equity, and advance accountability.

In the spirit of our votes last month, the Council needs to continue to speak with one voice on Libya. Let’s do everything we can to help the government maintain positive momentum as it moves toward national elections on December 24.

Thank you, Mr. President.