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

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
August 22, 2023


Thank you, Special Representative Bathily, for your informative briefing and all the work that you have been doing. And thank you, Ms. Al Jerbi, for all you do to report on the hopes and the struggles of people across Libya. And the need for accountability. Your voice was very powerful in the Council today. I welcome the participation of the Libyan Permanent Representative.

Today, I want to touch on five challenges facing Libya and discuss the path toward stability and democratic elections.

First, the United States is deeply concerned by the outbreak of violence in Libya and the region. We condemn the fighting between militias in Tripoli last week. Persistent grievances cannot be resolved through more fighting. That is abundantly clear. And with instability growing in places such as Sudan and Niger, factions within Libya must avoid actions that could precipitate a spiral into wider violence.

Second, I want to stress that the best path forward for the Libyan people is for all of us to support SRSG Bathily’s efforts to consolidate support for elections as soon as possible. SRSG Bathily, we encourage you to continue building on the work of the 6+6 Committee, which is critical to addressing the contested elements of the electoral framework, securing the necessary inclusive political agreement on the path to elections, and enabling a level playing field for all candidates.

All parties – the House of Representatives, High State Council, Government of National Unity, Libyan National Army, and Presidential Council – need to come together to make the necessary compromises required to hold elections.

Consistent with our support for national ownership of the election process, we also encourage all external actors to respect the Libyan people’s desire to formulate their own path. And, in any discussions, the SRSG’s office must continue to involve Libyan civil society actors, who will play a key role in the long-term success of any political transition.

The Libyan people are ready for compromise. A compromise that will bring about elections and stability. Toward that end, we are open to supporting the formation of a technocratic caretaker government whose sole task would be to bring the country to free and fair elections.

Third, on the crucial question of revenue management, we are encouraged by the unification of the Central Bank and establishment of a High Financial Committee. This Libyan-led effort will ensure no single player has exclusive control over public expenditures. And it will help address legitimate grievances over equitable revenue distribution. The Committee must emphasize transparency and fiscal oversight to win the confidence of the Libyan people. Together with the recent announcement of new progress toward reunification of the Central Bank of Libya, these developments lend critical momentum in support of a political agreement.

Fourth, we are encouraged by the 5+5 Joint Military Commission’s efforts to remove foreign forces, fighters, and mercenaries – and advance efforts toward possible disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration. Recent progress toward the formation of a joint unit that could patrol the south will help secure Libya’s borders and prevent the spillover of regional turmoil.

Fifth, we will continue to shine a spotlight on the Wagner Group’s pernicious impact in Libya and across Africa. Let’s be clear: countries with Wagner deployments within their borders find themselves poorer, weaker, and less secure. We see that in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Sudan. Wagner’s leadership has made no secret of its ambition to gain a further foothold in Africa, and its disregard for Libya’s territorial integrity.

Colleagues, the Libyan people deserve change, they deserve progress, they deserve hope. And it is up to Libya’s leaders to take action and deliver results. We urge all parties to work toward elections – a critical, long overdue step that will advance stability and prosperity.

Thank you.